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June 2014


“Forza Azzurri!!” an Italian might yell in support of the Italian national team. As the 2014 FIFA World Cup approaches, it’s useful to know how to properly cheer for your favorite team. Whether you call it “football” or “soccer” isn’t quite as important as where your allegiances lie. Today we’ll look at phrases in different languages around the world that you can use to cheer for your favorite World Cup team(s).

Germany faces off first against Portugal in Group G. For Germans, nothing is quite as remarkable as a "traumtor" (a "wonder goal") when a dramatic "bombenschuss" (a seemingly impossible shot) is made. "Ran an die pille!" ("Go for the ball!"), fans could yell in support of their team. Similarly, "Vai, vai vai!" ("go, go, go!"), a Portuguese fan would cry out at the national team in support. "Chuta!" ("kick it!"), "tira a bola!" ("take the ball!"), GOLLLLLLLL!!!!!! ("goal"), they scream until voices are shot. Not a fan of the referee? "Juiz ladrão!" ("you robber judge!") could be yelled at the television.

“Это великолепно!!” (Eta vyelikalyevna; “that was brilliant!”), as one could say in support of the Russian team if they should do well during their first match against the Korean Republic in Group H. “FC 서울 이겨라!” (FC Seoul ee gyo ra!; “Come on, FC Seoul!”) a Korean fan would yell. Should Korea score, it would be appropriate to proclaim in joy, “만세!” (man sae; "hooray!"). Or, if the Russian national team should score and you were rooting for them, you could shout at the top of your lungs, “mолодец!” (maladyetz; “well played!”).

Of course, we can't forget the first match in Group A: Brazil vs. Croatia. Serving as hosts for the 2014 World Cup, as well as being one of the foremost teams in the world, Brazil is certainly in the limelight. While watching their beloved game of "futebol", Brazilians cheer for their national team, the "A Verde e Amarela" ("The Green and Yellow") during a "jogão" (a big or important game) with "bora!" ("come on!") in hopes of a "porrada" (a "beat down"; to beat another team thoroughly). One could also use any of the aforementioned phrases noted for Portugal, as Portuguese is Brazil’s national language. If, on the other hand, the Croatian team should fare well against their South American opponents, they could yell out an emphatic "dobro odigrano!" ("well played!) or "dobra igra!" ("good game!"). "To je bilo sjajno!" ("that was brilliant"), one fan says to the other. "Da!" ("yes!"), says the other in response.

There are differences even between the football lexicon of American and the United Kingdom. For example, a "zero-zero" match in American English would be described as "nil-nil" in the UK. A "shut-out" in the US would be a "clean sheet" in the UK. A well-placed shot in the US is regarded as "on frame", whereas the UK would call it a "shot on target". "Out of bounds" in the US is "out of play" in the UK. "Cleats" vs. "boots", "offence" vs. "attack", "uniform" vs. "kit". Of course, no one will mistake your meaning if they’re watching the same game.

What national team are you supporting in the World Cup? Let us know on our Facebook page and be sure to “like” TELC English for more articles about fun cultural facts!