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The 2016 European Championship entertains fans in China and abroad

Jul. 6, 2016

Every four years, the world’s eyes turn to Europe to follow the most popular sport in the world, ”足球 (zúqiú) football,” or “soccer” if you live in the US, Canada, South Africa, Australia or New Zealand. This June of 2016 is that time again! It’s time to follow the sporting tournament known as the European Championship of Football (Soccer). This soccer tradition goes back to 1960. 2016 marks the 15th Championship in history. The European Championship is played from June 10 to July 10 in ten stadiums throughout France. Spain has won the past two European Championships in 2008 and 2012 and are ranked #2 this year. Germany is ranked #1 and England #3. Of course, any country can win with the right skills and teamwork!

2016 European Championship Mascot

Since 1980, each tournament has had a “吉祥物 (jíxiángwù) mascot.” A “吉祥物 (jíxiángwù) mascot” is a cartoon character that is an animal, fairy tale character, or human and helps soccer fans get excited, or “pumped,” for the games. This year’s “吉祥物 (jíxiángwù) mascot” is Super Victor, a boy superhero with a cape. Super Victor is dressed in the colors of France: red, white and blue.

Of course, Super Victor isn’t actually playing soccer this summer. All that kicking is up to the world-famous soccer players , or “footballers.” Let’s meet the three most famous players in the tournament.

1. Cristiano Ronaldo is a “前锋 (qiánfēng) forward” for Portugal who is famous as a high-scorer who is most likely the most famous player in the world.
2. Paul Pogba ia a “中锋 (zhōngfēng) center” from France who is versatile and makes plays all over the field. His nickname is “The Octopus” due to his long legs.
3. Zlatan Ibrahimović is a “前锋 (qiánfēng) forward” from Sweden is a 13-time champion and Sweden’s all-time leading scorer.

Football Field Diagram

Usually, the “前锋 (qiánfēng) forward,” who score goals, get most of the attention from casual soccer fans around the world. However, there are 11 players (per team) at the many positions around the field (pitch) that make the game work. Let’s learn their positions in Chinese:

“前卫 (qiánwèi) half back” works to stop the opposing offense from getting close to the goal and taking a shot on the goalkeeper.
“前锋 (qiánfēng) forward”, or “strikers,” move forward to attack the opposing team’s goal and score points.
“中锋 (zhōngfēng) center” is playing to stop the opposing team’s forward from getting farther down the field.
“中卫 (zhōngwèi) centre half back” provides additional defensive support.
“后卫 (hòuwèi) back” can be divided into two groups:
“左/右后卫 (zuǒ /yòu hòuwèi) left/right back” who provide more aggressive defensive attacks and support the offense.
“守门员 (shǒuményuán) goalkeeper, goaltender, goalie” is the only player who can grab the ball. The goalie defends the goal.

Now, when you want to talk football, or soccer, with your Chinese friends, you can apply these useful Chinese terms to your conversation. Chinese soccer is growing and improving each year, so be ready to impress your friends with this lesson!


Qiánfēng jìn qiú le!
前锋        进  球 了!
The forward scored!

Zuǒhòuwèi chuánqiú gěi zhōngwèi.
左后卫         传球      给    中卫。
The left back passed the ball to the center back.

Shǒuményuán jiē zhù le qiú.
守门员             接 住 了  球。
The goalie caught the ball.


1. Which football position is the only player who can grab the ball with their hands?
A. 中锋 (zhōngfēng)
B. 前锋 (qiánfēng)
C. 守门员 (shǒuményuán)
D. 中卫 (zhōngwèi)

2. Of the three most famous players in the 2016 European Cup, which one is not a ”前锋 (qiánfēng) forward?”
A. Zlatan Ibrahimović
B. Paul Pogba
C. Cristiano Ronaldo

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