France vs Brazil 2014 Allez les Bleus!
Le football, also called “foot” is a national sport in France. You cannot escape it, French people love it but you will find that some also hate it with the same passion. Indeed, in the southwestern regions of France, people follow another team sport: le Rugby. Anywhere rugby is popular and played, football will not be as popular. During the World Cup, which only happens every four years, more people will show interest toward “le ballon rond” (the round ball). Flags will start popping up here and there and supporters’ fervor will grow, especially when the French team is doing well. Since their victory in 1998 at home in Paris, les Bleus have had serious ups and downs at the World Cup. In 2002 they did very poorly and were eliminated during the group stage. In 2006, they went all the way to the final game during which their star player Zidane was sent off after head-butting an Italian player. They ended up losing the game against their long time rival Italy, and people still talk about that game to this day. The French team’s 2010 WorldCup run was a total disaster. It started with a qualification obtained thanks to an obvious handball from an otherwise outstanding player, Thierry Henry. The team then went to South Africa but didn’t win a game. They even went on strike! This farce made French people very angry and audiences turned toward rugby and other more “ethical” sports. This year, les Bleus seem to have regained support from the population with a very good spirit and seem capable of renewing their great achievements of 2006 or even 1998. Time will tell, les Bleus are playing tonight against Nigeria and will have probably have to beat Germany and Brazil to get to the final game. Didier Deschamps is the coach to lead this talented team to victory; he was the captain of the team when they won the Cup in 1998! So, if you are learning French and love learning it, you will have to know some vocabulary pertaining to this popular sport. I would advise doing some homework and trying to know a little history. For instance try to know who Michel Platini, Zinedine Zidane, Didier Deschamps, Laurent Blanc or Karin Benzema are. Not knowing these guys would be the French equivalent of not knowing who Dan Marino, Tom Brady or Michael Jordan are in the USA! When you are watching a game, or casually talking about football with French speakers, you will also need to know some key vocabulary:
Une équipe: a team Un maillot: a jersey Des crampons: cleats Un protège-tibia: a shin guard Un attaquant: a forward Un milieu de terrain: a midfielder Un défenseur: a defender Un gardien de but: a goalie (also called “un goal”) Un ballon de foot: a soccer (football) ball Un arbitre: a referee Un terrain de foot: a soccer (football) field Les buts, la cage: the goal Marquer un but: to score a goal Attaquer: to attack Défendre: to defend Un entraineur: a coach Une tête: a header Un centre: a crossball Une passe: a pass Un tir: a shot Une reprise de volée: a volley Un arrêt: a stop Une faute: a foul Un carton jaune: a yellow card Un coup-franc: a free kick Un penalty: a penalty kick Un hors-jeu: an offside Un corner: a corner kick Un dégagement: a clearance Une victoire: a win un match nul: a draw une défaite: a loss Let’s hope this last vocabulary word will not be les Bleus’ fate anytime soon, and if it is, you can still root for the USA team who will be playing tomorrow! Allez les Bleus!