In Brazil all other sports take a back seat to futebol (“soccer” in the U.S. and Canada, “football” in the rest of the English-speaking world). And everyone has their favorite team, which they often choose during childhood.
As I’ve moved around California in my life I’ve switched my baseball loyalties from the LA Dodgers to the San Francisco Giants, to the Oakland A’s, and now to the lowly Padres of my home town San Diego (They win once in a while!).
But Brazilians would never think of changing teams just because they moved to a new city, or because the team had lost twenty straight. Your team is yours for life!
The main teams in Rio are Fluminense, Flamengo, Vasco da Gama, and Botafogo. Other cities root for (torcem por) Santos (Pelé’s team), Vitória, Atlético Mineiro, Inter, Palmeiras, Grêmio, Corinthians, São Paulo and dozens more.
Games are televised daily, but especially on Sundays and Wednesdays, when “a galera de amigos” (the gang of friends) gets together to watch, scream, argue, and sometimes fight, at their favorite barzinho with uma gelada na mão—a cold one in hand.
As I sit writing this article on a Sunday in Rio, a small group (maybe 50 fans) of “a torcida do Flamengo” (the Flamengo fan club, biggest in Brazil) is marching, chanting, and beating drums in the street outside, getting warmed up for the game later today. If they run into a group of Vascaínos around the next corner, there may be trouble even before the game starts. Good luck taking a Sunday afternoon nap if you don’t have soundproof windows!
Brazilians are extremely proud that their national team (a seleção) is the only Pentacampeã da Copa, five-time World Cup champ (1958, 1962, 1970, 1994, 2002).
Many of you are learning Portuguese so you can attend the next Copa do Mundo, in 2014 in Brazil. Games will be held in a dozen cities, with the Finals in Rio de Janeiro.
I suggest you make your reservations as soon as possible—hotels and flights are filling up already.
In the meantime, use the following list to start learning the words of the game so you can take part in the animated conversations in the botequins, the neighborhood bars, before, during, and after each game. I’ve added A, O (“the”) and UM, UMA (“a”, “an”) so you know which nouns are masculine and which are feminine.
- o apito: whistle
- o árbitro, o juiz: referee
- o árbitro assistente: assistant ref
- a arquibancada: grandstand
- o arremesso lateral: the toss-in
- o atacante: forward
- o banco: bench
- o bandeirinha: flag holder
- a bola: ball
- o calção: shorts
- o campo: field
- o canto/o córner: corner
- o cartão amarelo: yellow card
- o cartão vermelho: red card
- o centroavante : center forward, striker
- chutar: to kick
- o chute: a kick, a shot
- a chuteira: soccer shoes
- contra: versus
- empatar: to tie
- um empate: tie game
- a equipe/o time: team
- um escanteio: a corner kick (also called um córner)
- expulsar: to expel from the game
- uma geral: a general admission ticket
- o gol: goal, score (pronounced GOOOOOOOOOOOOOLLLLL!!!!!!! by the locutor)
- gol contra: own goal
- o gol de empate: tying goal
- o intervalo: halftime
- o goleiro, a goleira: goalie (male, female)
- a grande área: penalty area
- o impedimento: offside
- o jogador, a jogadora: player (male, female)
- o jogo/a partida: game, match
- um jogo amistoso: a “friendly”
- o líbero: sweeper
- o lateral: outfielder; sideline
- a linha: line
- a linha de fundo: goal line
- o locutor: announcer
- as luvas: gloves
- a marca do pênalti: penalty mark
- marcar um gol: to score
- o meião: stockings
- o meio-campista: midfielder
- a morte súbita: sudden death
- a multidão: the crowd
- passar: to pass
- um passe: a pass
- um pênalti: penalty
- a pequena área: the box
- perder: to lose
- o ponta direita: right wing
- o ponta esquerda: left wing
- a prorrogação: overtime
- o quarto zagueiro: left back
- a rede: net
- o reserva: the substitute
- o técnico: coach
- um tiro livre: a free kick
- o torcedor, a torcedora:: fan (male, female)
- torcer: to root for
- a trave: goalpost
- o travessão: crossbar
- o uniforme: uniform
- vencer: to win
- o zagueiro: fullback
For advanced practice, here’s a website in Portuguese with all the info you’ll need about the upcoming Cup. Look it over now, then again occasionally as the Copa gets closer. If you’re doing even a small amount of practice and study of Portuguese, you’ll be amazed at how much more you understand each time you log in: http://www.portal2014.org.br
Practice–Use your dictionary and this list to translate the following:
- Os brasileiros tem muito orgulho de a seleção ser pentacampeã da Copa do Mundo.
- O jogo da estréia será em São Paulo, na terça-feira, 12 de Junho. O jogo final será no Estádio do Maracanã, no Rio de Janeiro, na sexta-feira, 13 de Julho, 2014.
- How do you pronounce in Portuguese, 13 de Julho, 2014?
Note: sexta-feira (Friday) is pronounced SAYSH-tah FAY-rah.
Now that you know the terminology of FUTEBOL, wait a couple of years and we’ll give you the words you need for the Jogos Olímpicos in Rio in 2016!