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Support Spain

None of the British football teams (England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland) classified for the European Cup in June 2008, so the TV channel Sky Sports suggested the British to support the Spanish selection instead. Not a crazy shot, after all, Spain was finally the champion, but they didn't know that yet.

You can learn some of the British and Spanish traditions here (don't forget to check the video links in the explanations below).

Have your plans for this summer fallen through?
Is the thought of June too painful to bear?
Is your replica kit out of date already?
Have your European dreams gone down the drain?

Well, football fans of Great Brit and Ireland, do not dismay, for there is another way to Europe 2008.

Yes, this summer emigrate to fútbol España and make "la selección" your new national team.

Say no to pie and yes to paella, goodbye to warm beer and hello to rioja. Forget Morris dancing, caber tossing, male voice choirs and binge drinking. The Macarena is the only bit of culture you need to know.

Yes, John Bull, it’s time to fight one. Let go of those three lions and take on a cow, Mr. Matador.

Go AWOL from the Tartan Army. Turn disco into folklore and scram some sweet Spanish love.

Tabby sheepish Welsh boy, forget the valleys and hit the costas; oil up hombre ! you Cymru Casanova.

No more Irish jig, Mickey Flatley. Now, you’re Mr Maracas, Señor Flamenco.

Yes, you love the black stuff, Patrick. So go on, let out your dark side.

Swap those sticker books, boys. Rooney, McFadden and Bellany for Torres, Villa and Morientes. Healey and Keane OUT. Xavi and Fábregas IN.

Come on, think of the pluses, no chaps, no wags and no need for a phrase book: "metatarsal" in Spanish is "metatarso".

And for once you won’t look stupid not knowing the national anthem because Spain’s doesn’t have any words!

But, of course, all our home-nation’s modern championship traditions will be respected because Spain always mess up too.

Say "¡olé!", support Spain and shout: "VIVA LA LIGA!!".

This video clip is full of cultural references, both to British and to Spanish culture. All of them are clichés, but that’s the fun of it.

TO FALL THROUGH= to fail, to do badly

REPLICA KIT= equipment which is not original (it’s a fake, a copy of the original one)

OUT OF DATE= too old for a proper use (e.g. don’t eat that yoghurt, it’s out of date)

TO GO DOWN THE DRAIN= to disappear, to be spoiled, to be a fiasco

GREAT BRIT= colloquial for Great Britain

DISMAY= discourage, give up; feel too sad about it

FOR= because: "for there is another way..." = "because there is another way"

LA SELECCIÓN= (Spanish) The national team. But when a British person says "la selección" they mean, of course, "the Spain's national football team"

PIE= a popular kind of food in Britain (pastry stuffed with meat or some other food)

PAELLA= /paɪelə/ Probably the most famous Spanish dish for European tourists (and half the British population spend their holidays in Spain). It's made of rice and seafood. Some British people also pronounce it Spanish-like /pɑ:ejə/. (see picture)

WARM BEER= Yup, believe it or not, British people like most of their beer warm (except larger). That doesn't mean they heat it up, it simply means they don't cool it down.

RIOJA= /ri:ɒhə/ together with sherry, the most internationlly famous Spanish wine. Here he tries to pronounce it with a Spanish accent (as many of the Spanish words) and so says /ri:ɒxə/

MORRIS DANCE= an English folk dance (watch it here)

CABER TOSS= a traditional Scottish athletic event: tossing (throwing away) a large wooden pole called a caber, similar to a telephone pole or a tree trunk (watch it here)

BINGE DRINKING= drinking too much alcohol for too long (usually two or more days)

JOHN BULL= here, BULL is a surname (like Smith).

FIGHT ONE= fight a bull (as his surname). The national Spanish event is called in English "bullfighting" because there a matador (or bullfighter) fights bulls. Bullfighting is a very Spanish national tradition but it's also popular in Portugal, the south of France, Latin American countries and even the south of the USA. Here is a bull fight, Portuguese style, in California: bullfighting.

THE THREE LIONS= the name of the official anthem (song) of the England football team for the 1996 European Championships, held that year in England.

TAKE ON A COW= Confront a bull (for bullfighting). Yea, he says "a cow", but that's because cows and bulls are... well, same thing with different sexes. But in Spain you can mock-fight (not seriously) a cow if you're too afraid of bulls, so maybe he does mean a cow.

TO GO AWOL= to be missing. AWOL is acronym for "Absent Without Official Leave". Originally a military term, now used for any situation where you’re missing without permission. (pronounced AY-WALL)

THE TARTAN ARMY= the supporters (fans) of the Scottish national football team.

TABBY= a common Welsh name

SHEEPISH= shy. It comes from the word "sheep". Wales is famous for having many many sheep.

CYMRU= /kymri:/ Wales, as it is said in the Celtic Welsh language (The /y/ sounds something between /u/ and /i/, like French "u").

CASANOVA= A casanova is a man who seduces many women, called like this after the famous Italian lover Casanova. You can also say "he's a Don Juan" (pronounced "don hwan"), after another famous Spanish lover. Both literature characters. If you call him "a Romeo" (after Romeo and Juliet), you can also say he's a womanizer, but it usually implies a lot of romanticism, and it's also good for a one-woman man, whereas the other two epithets aren't.

JIG= the most famous folk dance of Ireland, of Celtic origin (watch an Irish player dancing a jig)

MICKEY FLATLEY= a common Irish name

SEÑOR FLAMENCO= (Spanish) Mr Flamenco. Flamenco is a lively dance mostly from the south of Spain with a strong Gypsy and probably Arabian influence. Abroad, Flamenco is often confused with Sevillanas, but they are completely different (watch Flamenco here and Sevillanas here)

THE BLACK STUFF= the black things. Here it especially refers to stout (black beer), the national drink of Ireland, specially Guinness. But it makes a pun with "the dark side", which is the secret part of you you don't want anybody else to know (usually because it is bad or shameful)

PATRICK= another common Irish name

SWAP= exchange

STICKER BOOKS= in this case, albums where you collect stickers of your favourite football players

THE PLUSES= Plus is the sign (+), so the pluses are the additional good things you get

CHAPS= colloquial for friends

WAGS= an acronym meaning "wives or girlfriends"

PHRASE BOOK= the kind of book travellers take abroad, with a list of words and expressions in the foreign language so that they can communicate a bit in the most common situations.

METATARSAL= One of the bones in your foot.

THE NATIONAL ANTHEM= the national song that represents a country.

YOUR HOME NATION= the country where you were born. Your country.

TO MESS UP= to be a fiasco, to fail, to do things wrong. In this football context: to be eliminated.

SPAIN MESS UP= names referring to a group of people (like "team" or "Spain") can be considered singular or plural, so we can say "Spain messes up" or "Spain mess up" because we are referring to the Spanish national team, and that is one team but many players.. Eventually, Spain turned out to win the European Cup, so guesses went wrong there.

SUPPORT= cheer and encourage your (football) team because you want them to win.

¡OLÉ!= A Spanish cheer used as encouragement but specially to praise someone when they have done something well (= good job!, well done!). In Spanish question and exclamation marks have an opening sign as well as a closing sign (¿xx? and ¡xx!)

VIVA LA LIGA= "La Liga" is the Spanish national football league, and the word VIVA is the Spanish equivalent to "long live..." or "up with...", used as a cheer. In English we can also use VIVA + something (in this case it is taken from Latin, not Spanish), so we can say "Long live Africa!" or "Viva Africa!" (in Spanish:   ¡ Viva África !  ). In more colloquial English we would say: "Africa rules!" or "Africa rocks!" with the same meaning.

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