Post-match interviews – a lesson using Premier Skills English

This is for all the football fans! Here’s a lesson I revised last year using resources from the brilliant Premier Skills English.

You may have seen a previous post I did on using sports commentaries in class. It focused on using the instantaneous present simple, which is popular among commentators. When I listen to managers being interviewed I often hear past incidents described using a mixture between present simple, past simple AND present perfect! Even the continuous is used… it’s so confusing!

 ‘He committed himself to the tackle, Cazorla sees that and dinks it over him and he’s ended up getting a card’.

‘He’s come on and played really well. He got the goal he deserved’.

‘When he played Zamora in you’re thinking ‘this is it’, but he’s hit the post and, well, we drop two points’.

I drew attention to this with my learners, focusing more on how the interviewees often recall events using the present perfect. The structure is familiar to learners below intermediate level, but the context (and topic specific language) meant I tried this with an intermediate level class.

Level: Intermediate+

Overall Aim:

Students will be better able to use the present perfect simple for recent past actions in the context of post-match interviews


A good starter might be to show students some clips of controversial goals/moments during football games. You could show the clips as a ‘what happens next?’ format, or you could show some goals and have students discuss whether the goals should be allowed. Good examples might be:

Peter Enckelmann vs Birmingham City, 16th September 2002 – a bizarre own goal

Peter Couch vs Trinidad and Tobago, World Cup 2006 – Crouch pulls an opponent’s dreadlocks as he scores

Ahem, Maradona…

Students discuss or complete the following:

  • Have you seen any other strange moments during football matches? Tell your partner about them
  • Do you think being a referee is a good job? Why/Why not?
  • Make a table of pros and cons for becoming a football referee. Share your answers with the rest of the class.

Text-based presentation:

Explain that there was an incident in a football match at the weekend. The manager was interviewed after the game. Play the recording and give students the following questions:

  • What did the ref ‘give’?
  • What happened to Rio?
  • Does the manager agree with the decision?

(Note: I recommend recording this again or performing the transcript below with a stronger student. The quality of the recording isn’t great, it’s just an example)


A: Harry, what’s your view on the incident involving Rio Ferdinand?

B: Well, the ball’s bounced up, it’s hit Rio on the arm, and the ref’s given it. He’s got a bit unlucky and the red card is a bit harsh, but to be fair to the ref, he’s got to send him off.

A: Is it worth appealing?

B: Nah, I wouldn’t bother with that mate

A: Cheers, Harry

B: Cheers mate


Language focus:

The text is short. Students listen to the text and transcribe it. After, give them the short transcript to see if they were accurate.

If you think that transcribing the text will be difficult then you can just hand the transcript out.

Some vocabulary might be unknown and can be taught (e.g. appeal, harsh)

Draw attention to the grammar forms used in the text. Ask students the following:

  • What is the main tense used by the football manager?
  • Why does he use this tense?

After students explore this a bit, guide conversation to clarify the language point:

In this case, the manager is using the present perfect tense as he is talking about a recent past action. There is a present result to this action.

Past actions: The ball bounced up. Rio Ferdinand handballed it. The referee gave a penalty. Rio was sent off.

Present result: ‘The red card…’ – Rio will be suspended.


Controlled practice:

Introduce the ‘You’re the Ref’ section on the Premier Skills English site. Have students discuss what they would do if they were the referee in one or two of the situations. I recommend ‘Controversial Equaliser’:

you're the ref

Copyright Guardian News and Media Ltd. 2010

Discuss with students after the activity who was right/wrong, and who agrees with the referee’s decision.

 Students know that an equaliser was scored during the game, and that the scoring team had 12 players on the pitch. Below is an expanded version of the events that occur in ‘Controversial Equaliser’. Students complete the activity below, matching the correct verbs to the sentence, and using them in the correct form (present perfect simple):


RESTART              WAVE                   RECEIVE               ENTER  

SPEAK                   DISALLOW          HEAD                    COME

The player __________________ a yellow card

Number 9 __________________ the ball into the goal

The game __________________.

The linesman __________________ his flag

The referee _________________ with the linesman

The corner _________________ into the box

The referee _________________ the goal

The extra player _________________ the pitch


Then ask the students arrange the students into the correct order



7) The player has received a yellow card

3) Number 9 has headed the ball into the goal

8) The game has restarted.

4) The linesman has waved his flag

5) The referee has spoken with the linesman

2) The corner has come into the box

6) The referee has disallowed the goal

1) The extra player has entered the pitch


Pronunciation focus

Highlight the use of contractions:

The game has restarted = The game’s restarted

Drill sentences with contracted form. Students practise the correct pronunciation.

Further pronunciation focus may include reading the above sentences with varied stress / intonation to show attitude.

Free practice:

Work in pairs. Imagine that the manager of the team who scored the disallowed goal is being interviewed after the match.

Write a dialogue between the manager and a TV reporter.

Use some of the sentences from the previous activity when describing the goal. You can decide if the manager is happy or sad about the incident, the reporter should ask the manager further questions about the incident and the manager can share their opinions.


Students find their own ‘controversial moments’ in sport, and create post-match interviews. I’d use this one…


p.s. I used Premier Skills English to make this lesson about Petr Cech too

Categories: Lesson Ideas, other

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1 reply


  1. Learn English through football | ELT planning

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