2-nil and 3-3: how to say football scores in English
The Euro 2012 tournament in Ukraine and Poland has begun so now is an ideal time to look at how we speak about football scores in English.
On television and radio the results are read in a straightforward way: England one, France one; Holland one, Germany two, etc.
However, we use a different style when we speak informally about scores.
If the two teams have an equal number of goals at the end of the match we say it’s a draw, or that the teams drew.
When speaking about a 0-0 result, we can say any of the following:
- It was a nil-nil draw.
- It was nil-nil.
- They drew nil-nil.
It was nil to nil.
Let’s say the final score was 1-1. We could say:
- It was one-all.
- It was a one-all draw.
- It was one-one.
- They drew one-one.
It was one to one.
The Poland-Greece game on the first day of the Euro 2012 competition finished 1-1. We could use any of the above or we could say:
- Poland and Greece drew one-one.
- Poland drew one-one with Greece.
Another early game in the Euros finished Russia 4 Czech Republic 1.
For this result we could say any of the following:
- Russia won four-one.
Russia won four to one.
- It was four-one to Russia.
It was four-one for Russia.
- Russia won by four goals to one. (a little more formal)
In an English Premier League match there is a home team and an away team. The home team is always written first, regardless of the final score:
Chelsea 0 Newcastle 2 (We see that Chelsea were the home team because they’re written first.)
However, when we speak about the result the winner comes first and we put the ‘two’ before the ‘nil':
Chelsea 0 Newcastle 2
- Newcastle won two-nil.
Newcastle won nil-two. Newcastle won nil to two.
- It was two-nil to Newcastle.
- Newcastle beat Chelsea two-nil.
We could also say:
- Chelsea lost 2-0 to Newcastle.
How to speak about a result after penalties
When a match goes to penalties after extra-time we say the team won on penalties.
Let’s say the final score was Barcelona 2 Real Madrid 2 and then in the penalty shoot-out Barcelona scored five penalties and Real four.
- It was two-two and Barcelona won five-four on penalties.
You should now be fully equipped to talk about football scores in English. Enjoy the rest of EURO 2012 if you’re watching it!
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