Summer has finally arrived, and so has the time for football! The European Championship is well underway in France and we are about to leave the group stages behind to move on to the final stages of the tournament. Now, you may not care much for football, or maybe you’re a seasoned supporter of your country’s team with a flight to Paris booked and a ticket to the next match in your pocket. Either way, you have probably noticed by now that it’s pretty much impossible to escape the football fever this summer. That’s why we’ve prepared a few phrases that may come in handy when you’re in a French bar watching with the locals or when you just find yourself wanting to yell some French football vernacular at the TV.
Qui joue ? (Who’s playing?)
This is mostly for the non-football crazy amongst you. While this may sound like a completely legitimate question, it can also be a bit awkward as it reveals your total cluelessness. If you’re ok with that, go ahead and brave the funny looks.
Comment puis-je me rendre au stade ? (How do I get to the stadium?)
You have a ticket for the match but don’t want to face outrageous roaming charges to find out where you are or where you need to go? You forgot to print out directions to the stadium? No problem! Just ask a local.
Où est le bar le plus proche pour voir le match ? (Where is the nearest sportsbar?)
Don’t have tickets to the stadium? Use this question to get the locals to help you find a good place to watch the game. If you’re wearing your national team’s shirt they may even be able to point you towards a place where international supporters are welcome.
Allez les gars ! (Come on, guys! Let’s go!)
The allrounder. Use this when your team seems a bit tired, there is not enough action in general or you’re bored and can’t think of anything else to yell. Just go for it. It works in any situation, really.
Hors jeu ! Il est où l’arbitre !? (Offside! Which match are you watching, ref?)
It doesn’t matter if you understand the somewhat complex offside rules. This is to be used whenever an attacker of the opposing team gets too close to your team’s goal and there is no defender nearby to save the situation. As a fan, you have to question the referee’s impartiality wherever possible.
Il n’était pas du tout hors jeu ! (He was well onside!)
Similar to the previous phrase, this is to be used independent from the actual onside/offside situation, whenever your team had a great chance to score a goal, but the flag is up. Clearly the referee’s assistant didn’t have a good view of the situation, or he would have made the correct decision. Good of you to point out his mistake!
Faute ! Penalty ! (Foul! Penalty!)
Two very important words in any football game. Use them to point out things the referee missed, such as a brutal attack on one of your team’s players or a foul in the box that should be addressed with a penalty. Tip for the football novices: Don’t ever yell “Penalty!” if the action is happening in your team’s half!
C’est quoi cette simulation ? (Blatant dive!)
Football players tend to fall over at the slightest provocation, especially if they think it might get them an advantage. If a player of the opposing team is on the ground, the best thing to do is to accuse him of diving. Just to be on the safe side. Now, if you’re at the stadium, you’re golden, as there won’t be any replays shown on the big screens. If you’re at the pub or at home, there will most likely be a replay and if it was indeed a foul, your error might be discovered. But really, who cares at that point?
Ce match est nul. Et si on commandait une bouteille de vin et du fromage ? (This football is terrible. Shall we get some wine and cheese?)
This is a useful phrase for that awkward moment when your team loses and is no longer participating in the tournament but your flight home had been optimistically booked for the day after the final.
Je me fiche du football. Je veux juste lire mon livre. (I don’t care about football. I just want to read my book.)
Another classic. You’re sitting in the sun, having a great time with your new favourite book, but someone interrupts you to discuss football? You’ll have to be very clear about boundaries here. It may be the Euros, but sometimes you just have to be left alone so you can read your book.
Oh, tu viens de l’Irlande du Nord ? Je suis vraiment désolé(e) ! (Oh, you’re from Northern Ireland? I’m so sorry!)
The people of Northern Ireland have been celebrating for months. Their team have qualified for the European Championship for the first time ever and a major tournament for the first time in 33 years. Naturally, they’re exhilarated. The draw however was not a lucky one for them; they faced football giants Poland AND reigning World Champions Germany in the group stage. Tough luck!
Je sais que tu es français, mais, veux-tu quand même boire un verre ? (I know you’re French, but do you want to go for a drink anyway?)
You may still be wearing your Romania or Switzerland shirt, but once the game is over, we’re all just football fans having a good time. Go party and enjoy the summer. Football is only a game after all.
Did we forget any useful phrases you think you need to know? Comment with your favourite phrases!
Have a wonderful summer, everyone!
Christiane Bark, Localisation Manager