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Science: 

World Cup: Which team is ‘confident’ but ‘unconvincing?’

World cup words for each team

Three words to describe Brazil’s hapless, blubbering performance in this year’s semi-final?

Proving that during World Cup season everyone is a bit distracted, The Cambridge University Press has published a study exploring the three words most commonly used to describe each of the 32 nations across a wide range of media. I know, right? How’s that cure for cancer coming guys?

Anyway, ignore my mean-spiritedness: the study is actually quite fascinating, if slightly painful reading for some of the nations in the mix. Faring by far the worst are South Korea (“woeful”, “failure” and “embarrassing”), which is a bit harsh as they actually managed to get a point on the board – more than can be said for Cameroon (“hapless”, “battle”, “chaotic”). Suffice it to say none of these things are how I’d like to be described, unless the words “is not” feature prominently, underlined and bolded, in front of them.

Elsewhere, with the final of Argentina vs Germany this very weekend, the media is far more polite about the latter (“powerful”, “focused”, “committed”) than the former who manage to mix “confident” with “unconvincing” which is a worrying combination. The host nation Brazil, competing for third place this weekend with Holland (“rampaging”, “strategy”, “stunning”) gets a somewhat mixed review: “emotional” and “desperate”, which you’d think would be poor qualities in a football team to support, but the third word “popular” suggests that plenty of fans can look past that.

The database contains billions of words collected from across a broad range of media to give the world an insight into how each team was viewed. Not nice reading for Uruguay who remain defined by Bitey Mr Suarez (“bite”, “disgrace”, “do-or-die”).

You can read the full list of words on the BBC news site (if like Algeria, Mexico and the USA you are “determined” enough.)

Photo: AGIF/Shutterstock.com

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