Talking about football in Chinese

Talking about football in Chinese

Do you like to play football? Or perhaps you like to watch football games?
Football is popular in China, and especially among men. Even though the male Chinese football team has not found much successful yet, the Chinese audience enjoys watching their games.

Perhaps you would like to converse about football with your Chinese friends? In this post we look at some basic football vocabulary and phrases.

First of all, how do you say football in Chinese? Football is called qiú, and a football fan is qiú. 球 means “ball”, so a football player is called qiúyuán, and the team is called qiúduì. Since 队 means “team”, you can also use it to express for example the Chinese team: zhōngguóduì.

Other Teams
Team Brasil
bā xī duì 巴西队
Team Germany
dé guó duì 德国队
Team Argentina
ā gēn tíng duì 阿根廷队
Team Italy
yì dà lì duì 意大利队
Team Uruguay
wū lā guī duì 乌拉圭队

You might know the character 赛 which means “game” or “match”. You can combine it with “football” to get the Chinese word for a football game: qiúsài.. The character 赛 is also used in the following football related terms:

Games
Qualifying game
yù xuǎn sài 预选赛
Semi-final
bàn jué sài 半决赛
Final
jué sài 决赛
Overtime
jiā shí sài 加时赛
Friendly match
yǒu yì sài 友谊赛

Perhaps the most famous football competition is the FIFA World Cup, right? The official name for the FIFA World Cup in Chinese is guóliánshìjièbēi, but often we just call it shìjièbēi. Another popular competition is the UEFA European Football Championship, or ōuzhōuqiújǐnbiāosài. We can shorten this too, and just say ōuzhōubēi.

Now that you know some basic football vocabulary, you can ask your friends like this:

Watching the football game, you might want to cheer on the team you like, right? Try this:

And once the game over, you might want to tell your friends how it ended:

冠军 here means champion, but you can use the simpler míng as well. Finally, let's have a look at some extra vocabulary:

Ranking Words
Champion
guàn jūn 冠军 / dī yī míng 第一名
Second place
yà jūn 亚军 / dì èr míng 第二名
Third place
jì jūn 季军 / dì sān míng 第三名
Top four
sì qiáng 四强
Final eight
bā qiáng 八强
Top sixteen
shí liù qiáng 十六强
Keywords
Dark horse
hēi mǎ 黑马
Mascot
jí xiáng wù 吉祥物
Host country
zhǔ bàn guó 主办国
ōuzhōubēi is in full swing right now, so go and watch the games with your Chinese friends and try to use the words you learned today!

This is the accompanying blog post for our intermediate lesson “Having A Mistress“.

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