Czech Football


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After Euro 2004 and the Czech Republic's medal finish, you may be wondering how Czechs talk about football. Today in ABC of Czech we're looking at the basics of football in Czech. To start with Czechs play fotbal, and as you can see, Czech fotbal only has one 'o' and one 'l'.

If you want to use a strictly Czech word, then you can say kopaná, derived from the verb to kick - kopat. And what you kick is a míè - ball. To get in form, you may have a trénink, like the English training but watch the spelling. Fotbal shouldn't be confused with nohejbal, a sport which translates literally as football, but is in fact the popular Czech game of 'football tennis' which is like volleyball, but played with your feet.

A football match in Czech is a fotbalový zápas but you also just say zápas. A football game is a fotbalová hra. The Czech word for game - hra can also be used to refer to a card games - karetní hry and to plays - hry, such as those written by the former Czech president Vaclav Havel. The word hra is related to the verb to play - hrát.

A fotbalový zápas is held on a pitch - høi¹tì, which of course is covered with grass - tráva. A football match always begins with a kick off - výkop. The ball - míè is placed in the central circle - støedový kruh on the midfield or half-way line - pùlicí èára. Once the referee - rozhodèí, a word derived from the verb rozhodnout meaning "choose", blows the whistle, the game gets under way, with the útok, the forwards, trying to break through the other side's obrana - defense. If the team has a strong forward - útoèník, like Baro¹ for example, the Czech hero of Euro 2004, then it probably won't be long before we see a goal - branka. You will probably hear the word gól in Czech, but beware of its spelling! The chances of having a shot on goal - kop na branku right at the beginning of the game are quite rare. Nonetheless such an attack will certinally keep the keeper - brankáø awake and no doubt the defenders - obránci as well.

If the defending team commits a foul - faul, (spelt as you can see with an a instead of an o) in the penalty area - pokutové území then we have a penalty - penalta, otherwise a foul will normally be punished with a free kick - volný kop. If a team misses a penalta and the keeper - brankáø hasn't touched the ball, then he gets a goal kick - kop od brány and hopes his team isn't offside - ofsajd!

That is all for today! The next time you play fotbal, make sure you are not ofsajd. Take care! Mìjte se! Bye-bye! Èau-èau!