【Unlocking Word Meanings】
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.
1. continental /ˌkɒntnˈɛntl/ (adj.) – referring to a continent as a whole
Example: The team wants to win the continental championship.
2. alternative /ɔlˈtɜrnətɪv, æl-/ (n.) – anything that serves as another choice or option
Example: Green tea is a good alternative to energy drinks.
3. prequalifying /prɪkwɒləˌfaɪŋ/ (adj.) – referring to a process that one needs to accomplish before being able to participate in the main event
Example: Being able to run fast is a prequalifying skill for a football player.
4. semifinal /ˌsɛmiˈfaɪnl/ (n.) – a match that happens before the final event or championship
Example: The team was not able to reach the final competition because it lost in the semifinals.
5. garner /ˈgɑrnər/ (v) – to successfully gain or earn something
Example: She garnered the respect of her opponents after winning the competition.
Read the text below.
The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) has recently introduced a new game format that allows a more challenging continental football competition. It took the UEFA three years to review proposals for this competition.
Called the UEFA Nations League, the new competition will serve as a better alternative for international friendly matches, which are games that do not affect a team’s standing. The UEFA Nations League will also serve as a prequalifying tournament for the 2020 UEFA European Championship (Euro 2020). Its first tournament will take place in September 2018.
The UEFA Nations League will split 54 European teams into four divisions, which are determined by the team’s ranking. Each division will have four sub-divisions or ‘pools’ composed of three to four teams that would compete against each other. The four winning teams from each pool will then compete in the semifinals until one team becomes the overall winner of each division.
The last part of the tournament is the finals, in which the four overall winners of each division will contend with each other. Regardless who wins the finals, all four overall winners are already automatically qualified for the Euro 2020.
This new game format has generally garnered positive feedback from different football organizations. The general secretary of the English Football Association said that the new concept will make the games more interesting. The European Club Association (ECA) also approves of the Nations League, as teams will no longer need to travel far for friendly matches.
However, FIFPro is hesitant about the new game format as it would add pressure to top players.
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.
· Do you think this new game format makes the football tournament more interesting? Why or why not?
· What do you think are the advantages of doing international friendly matches?
· Why do you think professional football games are important to European countries?
· What are the benefits of sports competition among different countries?