The best way to find 100 French people in one place is to go where France’s World Cup games are screening (which FYI is here in NY, here in SF, here in LA, and here on a streaming service). Over the course of two hours during the France vs Peru game, we eavesdropped on the fans of les Bleus to learn what they yelled at the TV. Here’s a compiled list of World Cup French vocabulary, so you can yell with the best of them at the next game.
Superbe – Superb, excellent
Bien joué (ça) – Well played, well done (and if you put “ça” at the end then it’s “that was well played”)
Il est tellement chaud – He’s on fire (as in, he’s playing so well, he’s on a hot streak)
Belle passe – Great pass
Allez, allez! – Go, go!
Attention! – Pay attention!
C’est compliqué quand même – Well, it’s difficult (as in, if someone else says “that was so stupid, I can’t believe they tried to switch into 4-3-2-1 formation” you can say “c’est compliqué quand même”)
C’est pas sexy mais… – It’s not sexy but… (as in, the play wasn’t beautiful but it worked)
Oh, y a rien du tout là! – Oh, that was nothing! (as in, if Kimpembe gets a yellow card but you don’t think he actually fouled someone, you can say “oh là, il n’y a rien du tout”)
Y a pas grand chose – It’s not a foul
Encouragement that Turns to Insults
Sometimes the best plays turn bad, and sometimes it happens mid-sentence.
Il est trop fort— Il est débile. – He’s so good— He’s so stupid.
Oui! Ah, putain, dommage. – Yes! Ah, shit, too bad.
Ouiii! Ooh – Yes! Ooh…
Ooooooh – Oooooh (done with a very low voice, like a drawn out “oh” from “oh la la”)
Oh la laaaaa – (This is too French to translate. Basically it’s exasperation and a sort of implication that a baguette on a Roomba could play soccer better than whatever’s happening on the field.)
C’est pas vrai – This is unreal
Comme il est con – He’s such an idiot
Chaque fois – Every time… (as in, “he messes this up every time”)
Il se prend pour Zidane – He thinks he’s Zidane (as in, Kylian Mbappé thinks he’s as good as France’s most beloved ex-soccer star Zinedine Zidane)
Qu’est-ce qu’il fait!? – What’s he doing!?
Anything about Griezmann
The French have high expectations for star forward Antoine Griezmann, but no matter whether he performs well or poorly, there’s a lot to say. So if you don’t know any of the players, just look out for #7 and make comments.
C’est Griezmann? (hopeful) – Was that Griezmann?
C’est Griezmann (disappointed) – It was Griezmann
Oh, Griezmann! (frustrated) – Oh, Griezmann!
Griezmann fait rien – Griezmann does nothing