EP words of the week (#26): golo / baliza

Soccer/Association football – [o] futebol – is undoubtedly the most popular sport in Portugal; the only thing more popular than playing football is watching it, couch potato style – maybe that’s the most popular “sport” around here (:

Even though Portugal and Brazil share the same passion for the sport, there are several different terms between the two languages that can befuddle those who first notice them. For example, the word goal (both the shot scored and the area where players are supposed to aim) is commonly known in Brazil as [o] gol; in Portugal, the method of scoring is known as [o] golo, while the place where players score is solely known as [a] baliza.

Quando a bola entra na baliza, quer dizer que uma equipa marcou um golo. When the ball enters inside the goal, it means a team has scored a goal.

Other terms are also different, especially when it comes to player positions: a goalkeeper is known as [o/a] goleiro/a in Brazil, but as [o] guarda-redes in Portugal (trans. netkeeper); a centre-back is known as [o/a] zagueiro/a in Brazil, while in Portugal he/she would be named [o/a] defesa central (trans. central defender); forwards are known as [os/as] atacantes in Brazil but as [os/as] avançados/as in Portugal. A striker is known as [o] centroavante in Brazil, but as [o] ponta de lança (lit. spearhead, since it’s usually the player closest to the opposing goal) in Portugal.

All of this to say that many, many terms related to football are different wherever you go – you obviously don’t need to know them all to be fluent in European Portuguese (and I haven’t listed all terms and differences), but since football is usually on most people’s minds, knowing some of these words may come in handy if you have a conversation with a Portuguese football fan!

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