England v Poland: Some handy football phrases to talk about the beautiful game with your Polish neighbours

The World Cup qualifier match will take place at Wembley tonight


Poland have a habit of tripping England up on the path to footballing glory (or, at least, the quarter-finals). In 1973, a 1-1 draw against Poland prevented the Three Lions from reaching the World Cup the following year.

The home crowd will be crossing their fingers that it doesn't happen again, while the Poles will be holding their thumbs (the Polish gesture for good luck) that they can stymie the boys from the Islands this time too.

Wherever you're watching the match, there will probably be some Poles within hailing distance. Use this handy guide to discuss the finer points of the beautiful game:


Piłka nożna 

(pew-ka noz-na) [the ‘z’ is pronounced like the ‘J’ in the French name Jacques]

We was robbed!

Zostaliśmy okradzeni 

(zo-stal-eesh-mey okrad- zeni)

It’s a game of two halves

To gra mająca dwie połowy 

(toh gra may-on-say dvee-eh po-wov-eh)

Sick as a parrot

Chory jak papuga 

(horr-ah yak pap-ooga)

Looks strong on paper

Wygląda dobrze na papierze 

(vuh-glonda dob-zeh na pap-ee-air-zeh)

[the ‘z’s are pronounced like the ‘J’ in the French name Jacques]

It’s a funny old game

(To dziwna gra (toh jiv-nah) [‘j’ as in ‘James’] gra)





And some well-known Polish football wisdom. Quotes from Polish managers and sports commentators that almost, but don't quite, make sense (yes, they have them too):

Mecz można wygrać, przegrać lub zremisować.

A match can end in a win, a loss, or a draw.

Kazimierz Górski, Poland national football team coach and honorary president of the Polish Football Union (1921–2006)

Piłka jest okrągła, a bramki są dwie.

The ball is round and there are two goals.

Kazimierz Górski

Praca trenera jest jak molo – kiedyś się kończy.

Coaching is like a pier – eventually it comes to an end.

Czesław Michniewicz. Manager of Podbeskidzie Bielsko-Biała. Known as the 'Polish Mourinho.'

Dopóki piłka w grze, wszystko jest możliwe.

As long as the ball is in play, anything is possible.

Kazimierz Górski

Tak się gra, jak przeciwnik pozwala.

You can only play the way the other team lets you play.

Kazimierz Górski

Nasza reprezentacja gra bosko – Bóg jeden wie, jak zagra.

Our team plays divinely – only God knows how.

Jan Tomaszewski. Veteran player and sports journalist.

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