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How to pronounce the UEFA EURO 2020 quarter-finalists' names correctly

Only eight teams left and one of them is England; no excuse for not saying the rest of the names right.

EURO 2020 Player Pronunciation Video

The presence of plenty of foreign players at the top levels of football in the British Isles has done something to raise locals' awareness that not all names can be pronounced as if they were English.

Familiarity and the elimination of 16 of the original 24 teams has made pronouncing the UEFA EURO 2020 players' names a little bit easier, but our mission to simplify complicated-looking foreign names for English speakers continues.

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Tee-bo Cor-twa
Tee-bo Cor-twaAFP via Getty Images

Some names are pronounced the Flemish way, and some the French way.

Toby Alderweireld – Al-der-way-reld
Michy Batshuayi – Bat-shoe-a-yi
Timothy Castagne – Cast-an-yuh
Thibaut Courtois – Tee-bo Cor-twa
Thomas Meunier – Muh-nee-ay
Thomas Vermaelen – Ver-mah-len


Accents on vowels indicate where the pronunciation should be stressed (so ‘Tomáš’ is more like ‘Tom-aash’ for English speakers). An 'š' is a 'sh', a 'č' is a 'ch', but 'c' is more like a 'ts'. And 'ř' is a bit like 'rj' in English.

Jan Bořil – Yan Borjil
Ondřej Čelůstka – Ondjay Chell-oost-ka
Adam Hložek – H-lozhek
Tomáš Holeš – Hollesh
Pavel Kadeřábek – Kadder-jah-beck
Aleš Matějů – Alesh Mattay-oo
Jiří Pavlenka – Yeer-zhee
Jakub Pešek – Pesheck
Petr Ševčík – Shev-cheek
Tomáš Vaclík – Vatz-leek


Pierre-Emile Hoy-byer
Pierre-Emile Hoy-byerUEFA via Getty Images

That ‘æ’ character is widely misunderstood among English speakers, while a ‘g’ tends to be much softer than it looks.

Simon Kjær – Care
Pierre-Emile Højbjerg – Hoy-byer
Jonas Lössl – Yo-nass Lussel
Joakim Mæhle – May-leh
Frederik Rønnow – Rern-oh


All pretty simple.


The commonly-made mistake is to pronounce a 'ch' like an English 'ch' – it is more like a 'k'. Lorenzo Insigne is a tough one to get spot on – linguists may note that his 'gn' works like a Spanish 'ñ'.

Federico Bernardeschi – Ber-nar-desk-ee
Giorgio Chiellini – Jor-joe Key-eh-lean-ee
Federico Chiesa – Kee-ay-sah
Alessio Cragno – Cran-yo
Lorenzo Insigne – In-sin-yuh


César Ath-pili-coo-et-a
César Ath-pili-coo-et-aUEFA via Getty Images

Getting it right is tough for the uninitiated, but the following pronunciations may get you a bit closer. César Azpilicueta's Chelsea team-mates famously nicknamed him 'Dave' to avoid the difficulty of saying his surname.

César Azpilicueta – Ath-pili-coo-et-a
Sergio Busquets – Boo-skets
David de Gea – De-hay-ah
Diego and Marcos Llorente – Yorentay


In addition to Switzerland's mix of native languages – French, Swiss German and Italian – the prominence of players with Albanian, Kosovar and Turkish roots makes things even more exciting.

Eray Cömert – Jo-mert
Breel Embolo – Brail
Becir Omeragic – Bess-eer Omer-adjitch
Fabian Schär – Share
Xherdan Shaqiri – Jer-dan Sha-chee-ree
Granit Xhaka – Jakka


Transcribed – like Russian – from the Cyrillic alphabet, Ukrainian is notably easier to pronounce. Names largely sound like they look in print. The number of 'y's might throw some English speakers, so it's worth noting that they can generally be treated as English 'i's. An 'iy' is approximately the same as an English 'ee' – hence 'Andriy' = 'Und-ree'. A 'ts' sounds like it does in 'tsunami'.

Heorhii Sudakov – Georgie
Viktor Tsygankov – Tsee-gan-koff