How to say the #U21EURO players' names correctly

The #U21EURO in Poland is going to be brilliant, but how much better will it be if you can pronounce the names of all the players correctly? Read our handy guide and learn!

Sweden's Carlos 'Strond-berry'
Sweden's Carlos 'Strond-berry' ©Getty Images

CZECH REPUBLIC

Accents on vowels and consonants can panic nervous English speakers, but Czech names generally aren't as complicated as they look. Acute accents extend the vowel (so á = aah in English) while an 'š' is a 'sh', and a 'č' is a 'ch'.

Antonín Barák – Anto-neen Ba-rark
Václav Černy – Vart-slav Chair-knee
Tomáš Chorý – Tomash Khory
Martin Hašek – Ha-sheck
Michal Hubínek – Mick-al Hoo-bee-neck
Jakub Jankto – Ya-coob Yank-toh
Lukáš Juliš – Loo-carsh Yoo-lish
Filip Kaša – Ca-sha
Patrik Macej – Mat-say
Aleš Matějů – Alesh Mat-ay-oo
Michal Sáček – Sah-check
Petr Ševčík – Pet-r Shev-cheek
Stefan Simič – Sim-itch
Tomáš Souček – So-check
Michal Trávník – Trarv-neek
Luděk Vejmola – Loo-dyek Vey-moll-a
Lukáš Zima – Loo-carsh

Patrick 'Bawn-gor' (left)
Patrick 'Bawn-gor' (left)©FRF

DENMARK

The politeness of generations of Nordic players in the United Kingdom has led to their names being badly pronounced in the English-speaking world. Crucially, the Danish 'g' has little in common with the hard English 'g', and Danish also has fewer sharp edges than there may seem on paper.

Patrick Bangaard – Bawn-gor
Jakob Blåbjerg – Blo-bee-air
Fredrik Børsting – Bursting
Mikkel Duelund – Doo-lun
Thomas Hagelskjær – Hail-ski-air
Andrew Hjulsager – Yool-sayer
Jeppe Højbjerg – Yeppee Hoy-bee-air
Kasper Junker – Yunker
Andreas Maxsø – Mark-sue
Christian Nørgaard – Nyar-gor

ENGLAND

Most should be fairly easy for native English speakers, but just in case ...

Nathaniel Chalobah – Challow-bar
Demarai Gray – Demmer-eye
Dominic Iorfa – Eye-or-fa 

'Key-reh' Markoski
'Key-reh' Markoski©FFM

FYR MACEDONIA

Usually written in Cyrillic script, Macedonian names have been transcribed phonetically so should sound like they appear on paper. Worth remembering, though, that the 'j' is a soft one, more akin to an English 'y'.

Aleksa Amanovic – Amano-vitch
Egzon Bejtulai – Bey-too-lie
Eljif Elmas – El-yif
Nikola Gjorgjev – George-yev
Filip Ilic – Ill-itch
Kire Markoski – Key-reh
Gjoko Zajkov – Sigh-kov 

GERMANY

As with the Nordic languages, English speakers tend to think they know how to pronounce German better than they do. In general terms an umlaut is the approximate equivalent for English speakers of adding an extra 'e' to a vowel; 'ä' is more like 'ae', 'ö' and 'ü' are almost like 'er'.

Thilo Kehrer – Tee-lo Key-rer
Lukas Klünter – Kloon-ter
Levin Öztunali – Leh-vin Erz-toon-ali
Marvin Schwäbe – Sh-fay-buh
Jeremy Toljan – Tol-yan

Enrico 'Ki-yays-a'
Enrico 'Ki-yays-a'©Getty Images

ITALY

The confusing bits tend to be 'g' (much less percussive than its English equivalent) and 'ch' (which is a harder sound than in English).

Federico Bernardeschi – Ber-nar-dess-key
Davide Biraschi – Bee-rass-key
Federico Chiesa – Ki-yays-a
Alessio Cragno – Cran-yo
Roberto Gagliardini – Gal-yar-dee-knee
Simone Scuffet – Scoo-fet 

POLAND

Polish looks impossibly hard-edged on paper to English speakers. Tellingly, the letter 'Z' is worth ten points in the English version of the word game Scrabble, and just one in Polish. Key tripping points explained: the accents on 'ą' and 'ę' add a hidden 'n' for English speakers, a 'w' is more like an English 'v' and 'ł' is soft enough to be an English 'w'.

Pawel Dawidowicz – Pavel Dah-vid-aw-vitch
Bartłomiej Drągowski – Bart-woh-myay Dron-goff-skee
Paweł Jaroszyński – Pavel Ya-ro-shin-ski
Jarosław Jach – Yah-row-swav Yakh
Bartosz Kapustka – Bar-tosh
Tomasz Kędziora – Tom-ash Kend-zhoor-a
Dawid Kownacki – Dah-vid Kov-nats-key
Jarosław Kubicki – Koo-bits-key
Igor Łasicki – Wah-sheet-ski
Łukasz Moneta – Woo-cash
Jarosław Niezgoda – Yah-row-swav Nyez-go-da
Krzysztof Piątek – Pee-on-tek
Mariusz Stępiński – Sten-pin-ski
Maksymilian Stryjek – Stree-yek
Przemysław Szymiński – P-sheh-mi-swav Shim-in-ski
Jakub Wrąbel – Ya-coob Vron-bell

'Edgar Ee-eh'
'Edgar Ee-eh'©Eddy Risch

PORTUGAL

Spain and Portugal share a border, but their languages sound very different.

Joäo Carvalho – Jew-wow Carval-you
Tobias Figueiredo – Tu-be-esh Fi-gay-ray-do
Edgar Ié – Ee-eh
Diogo Jota – Dee-oh-gu Zhota
Iuri Medeiros – You-ree Moo-day-roosh
Gonçalo Paciência – Gon-sah-lu Pah-see-en-sia
Daniel Podence – Poh-den-ss
Rebocho – Ru-bosho 

SERBIA

Some simple rules make things easy: a 'č' and a 'ć' are like an English 'ch', whereas an unaccented 'c' is more like 'ts' for English speakers. A 'j' is a bit like an English 'y' and a 'ž' sounds a lot like the 's' in the English word 'pleasure'.

Miroslav Bogosavac – Bo-go-sa-vats
Aleksandar Čavrić – Chav-ritch
Mijat Gačinović – Mee-yat Ga-cheeno-vitch
Filip Manojlović – Man-oil-ov-itch
Ognjen Ožegović – Og-nyen Oh-jeggo-vitch
Srdjan Plavšić – Ser-jan Plav-shitch
Miloš Veljković – Mee-losh Vel-ko-vitch
Andrija Živković – Jeev-ko-vitch

Milan 'Shkreen-ee-ar'
Milan 'Shkreen-ee-ar'©SFZ

SLOVAKIA 

Slovak and Czech are not the same language, but some similar pronunciation rules apply. Acute accents extend the vowel (so á = aah in English) while an 'š' is a 'sh'.

Matúš Bero – Mat-ooze
Martin Chrien – Khree-en
Lukáš Haraslín – Har-as-leen
Tomáš Huk – Tom-ash Hook
Adam Jakubech – Yack-oo-beck
Róbert Mazáň – Ma-zaan
Jaroslav Mihalík – Mee-high-leek
Branislav Niñaj – Ninny-eye
Marek Rodák – Roe-dark
Pavol Šafranko – Sha-franco
Ľubomir Šatka – Shat-ka
Milan Škriniar – Shkreen-ee-ar
Nikolas Špalek – Shpar-lek
Tomáš Vestenický – Ves-ten-its-key

SPAIN

The popularity of Spanish football means most people vaguely understand the pronunciation rules now, yet these four tricky ones are worth a look. Interesting facts: a 'z' at the end of a word is always pronounced 'th', while an 'h' at the start of a word is always silent.

Héctor Bellerín – Eck-tor Bay-air-een
Jorge Meré – Hor-hay Meh-ray
Saúl Ñíguez – Sah-ool Nyee-geth
Pau – Pow 

Watch highlights of Sweden's 2015 triumph
Watch highlights of Sweden's 2015 triumph

SWEDEN

The Swedish 'g', like its Danish counterpart, has been fooling English speakers for decades. To illustrate, if an English ship ran into a Swedish 'iceberg', it would hit an 'iceberry'.

Anton Cajtoft – Kite-oft
Paweł Cibicki – Chee-bit-ski
Pontus Dahlberg – Dorl-berry
Melker Hallberg – Hull-berry
Carlos Strandberg – Strond-berry