Read the article about the World Cup 2014 and then do the exercises.
How does the World Cup work?
More than 200 nations play qualifying matches with other teams in their region to become the 32 qualifying teams. This includes the competition host team, who qualify automatically. Next the 32 teams are divided into groups of four. The winning teams in each of the groups go through to the 16-team ‘knockout’ stage where teams that lose are eliminated. The surviving two teams compete in the final.
The UK has four national teams: England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. This year only England has qualified for the World Cup. England won the World Cup in 1966 and reached the semi-final in 1990.
‘Group of death’
A ‘group of death’ refers to an exceptionally difficult group. When the groups were decided in December 2013, the English Football Association chairman, Greg Dyke, was seen on TV jokingly drawing his hand across his throat to signify a ‘group of death’ for the England team. In England’s group are Italy, Uruguay and Costa Rica, some very strong teams.
Official England fan club members can buy tickets in advance for between £55 and £105. FIFA, the world’s football governing body, also sells tickets for matches. It is estimated that around 10,000 England supporters will travel to Brazil this year to watch their team play in the World Cup. Fans who are going to see the three opening group matches will pay about £10,000 each for hotel, travel and tickets.
As well as getting to Brazil, England fans will also have to travel long distances within the country. Manaus, where England play their opening game against Italy, is located in the Amazon jungle. It is 2,360 miles from Sao Paulo, where the team play next against Uruguay, so fans will have to take an aeroplane to reach the next match. Some people are worried that the England players and supporters will find the heat and humidity a problem. Others see this as an adventure and have booked boat trips down the Amazon to see the amazing sights of the jungle before watching the football match.
Screens and shirts
There are England games in three different cities in Brazil and each city has official fan zones where supporters without tickets can watch the football matches on big screens. England fans can also follow the progress of their team without travelling to South America, of course. They can choose from live TV, online coverage, catch-up TV apps, on-demand highlights or radio. Pubs and football clubs across England are popular places to watch the footy action with other fans. The England team have an all-white kit and England World Cup enthusiasts can buy the exact same shirt that Steven Gerrard, Wayne Rooney and the rest of their team will wear at Brazil 2014. Adult shirts cost £90 and a cheaper version for children is £42.
Worksheets and downloads
Who do you think is going to win the World Cup this year? Who will you be supporting?