World Cup of Languages

World Cup of Languages 

The World Cup kicked off yesterday in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and we’ve been excited to watch some of the action! There are 32 countries playing for the FIFA World Cup this year, which means many exciting languages and cultures. The sport itself can be considered a universal language spanning culture and language as the rules and game is played the same – despite being called ‘soccer’ in North America – across the world.

With a viewership of over 3.2 million people, the 2014 World Cup is expected to be one of the largest sports events in the world. There are 34 unique languages that are used by the 32 qualified teams and many of the players are multilingual.

The top five languages used by teams this year include Spanish, English, French, Italian and German, with Spanish and English taking the lead with 38 per cent of players knowing one of these languages. This suggests there is at least one player on every qualified team who knows English or Spanish. Aside from their native language, English is the second most spoken language on the French, Honduran, Ivorian, Brazilian, Dutch, Spanish and German teams.

On average 68 per cent of players across all teams are multilingual in at least one other language. This means 500 of the 736 players in the World Cup know another language well enough to eaves drop on their opponent’s conversation. Bosnia and Herzegovina gets a special shout-out because 100 percent of their players are multilingual. England lies at the other end of this spectrum with only 4 percent of their players being multilingual.

No matter which team you are cheering for this World Cup season, we hope you enjoy every aspect of the spectacle. Who knew the World Cup was such a multilingual event!? Take a look at the image below, written by to learn some fun language facts for each group.