How to pronounce the UEFA EURO 2020 players' names correctly
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How to pronounce the UEFA EURO 2020 players' names correctly

The eagerly-awaited EURO 2020 kicks off tomorrow evening when Italy play Turkey in the opening match. 

Getting the correct pronunciation of certain can be a challenge to many, and ahead of the big kick-off, here is how some names should be pronounced. 

🇦🇹 Austria

Basic German-language rules apply – note that an umlauted 'ä', 'ö' or 'ü' sounds something similar to 'ae', 'oe', 'ue' in English.

  • Stefan Lainer – Liner
  • Philipp Lienhart – Leen-hart
  • Alessandro Schöpf – Sherpf
  • Karim Onisiwo – Onni-see-vo
  • Sasa Kalajdzic – Sasha Kal-ide-jitch

🇧🇪 Belgium

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
  • Simon Mignolet – Min-yo-lay
  • Thomas Vermaelen – Ver-mah-len

🇭🇷 Croatia

Basic rules: 'š' is a 'sh', 'č' and 'ć' are a bit like an English 'ch', and 'j' approximates to an English 'y'.

  • Milan Badelj – Bad-el-ee
  • Luka Ivanušec – Eevan-oo-shets
  • Mislav Oršić – Orsh-itch
  • Šime Vrsaljko – Shi-may Ver-sal-ee-ko

🇨🇿 Czech Republic 

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

🇩🇰 Denmark

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

🇫🇮 Finland

Vowels and accents can make a language more treacherous than it first appears (a Finnish ‘ä’ sounds much like the English ‘a’ in ‘hat’).

  • Nikolai Alho – Arl-hoh
  • Paulus Arajuuri – Ara-yoo-ree
  • Jasin Assehnoun – Asser-known
  • Nicholas Hämäläinen – Hama-lay-nen
  • Lukas Hradecky – Lukash Radetski
  • Juhani Ojala – O-yalla
  • Teemu Pukki – Pooky
  • Sauli Väisänen – Vay-san-en

🇫🇷 France 

The vowels often confound English speakers. So do the consonants.

  • Lucas Digne – Loo-cah Dee-nyuh
  • Olivier Giroud – Ol-iv-ee-eh Ji-roo
  • Antoine Griezmann – On-twan Gree-ez-man
  • N'Golo Kanté – N-go-lo Kon-tay
  • Clément Lenglet – Long-lay
  • Steve Mandanda – Stev Mon-don-dah
  • Mike Meignan – Mane-yoh
  • Marcus Thuram – Too-ram

🇩🇪 Germany

An umlaut on 'ä', 'ö' or 'ü' is comparable to 'ae', 'oe', 'ue' in English. Note: Joshua Kimmich – 'ich' as in "ich bin ein Berliner" rather than Baby You're A Rich Man.

  • Manuel Neuer – Noy-ah
  • İlkay Gündoğan – Eel-kay Goon-doe-wan
  • Emre Can – Jan
  • Joshua Kimmich – Kim-ikh

🇭🇺 Hungary 

One of the few European languages that do not belong to the Indo-European group, Hungarian is not as percussive-sounding as it looks.

  • Tamás Cseri – Tom-ash Cherry
  • Dénes Dibusz – Day-nesh Di-boos
  • Péter Gulácsi – Pay-ter Goo-lat-chi
  • Ákos Kecskés – Ah-kosh Ketch-kay-sh
  • Gergő Lovrencsics – Ger-gur Lov-ren-chitch
  • Ádám Nagy – Nah-dge
  • Szabolcs Schön – Saw-bolch Sher
  • Attila Szalai – Saw-law-ee


🇮🇹 Italy

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

🇳🇱 Netherlands 

The gg sound is like the Scottish 'loch'. The ‘ij’ doesn’t have a direct English equivalent, but is softer than the 'i' sound in 'fine' (and more like the Scottish 'aye', or 'why'). The 'ou' is more pronounced than the English 'out' – it’s like 'ah-ou' run together; so think of the 'ow' when you bang your elbow on a doorframe.

  • Steven Bergwijn – Stay-ven Berugg-why-n
  • Matthijs de Ligt – Mat-ice Dull-icht
  • Marten de Roon – Der-own
  • Stefan de Vrij – Stay-fon Duh-fray
  • Quincy Promes – Pro-mess
  • Wout Weghorst – Vowt Vegg-horst
  • Georginio Wijnaldum – Why-naldum
  • Owen Wijndal – Whyne-dal

🇲🇰 North Macedonia 

North Macedonian names are transliterated from the Cyrillic alphabet so the hard work should have been done for you, but there are a few hazardous ones out there.

  • Visar Musliu – Moos-lyoo
  • Vlatko Stojanovski – Stoyan-ovski
  • Aleksandar Trajkovski – Try-kovski
  • Ivan Trickovski – Tritch-kovski

🇵🇱 Poland 

Polish is a much softer-sounding language than all the 'k's and 'z's would suggest. A 'Ł' or 'ł' is rather like an English 'w', while the subscript accent on an 'ę' or an 'ą' subtly adds an 'n' to the vowel. The Polish 'ch' is a 'kh' sound, like in Kazakhstan.

  • Bartosz Bereszyński – Berresh-in-skee
  • Paweł Dawidowicz – Dav-id-ov-itch
  • Łukasz Fabiański – Woo-cash Fab-yan-ski
  • Kamil Jóźwiak – Yoz-vee-ak
  • Tomasz Kędziora – Kend-zyor-a
  • Dawid Kownacki – Kov-nats-kee
  • Kacper Kozłowski – Kos-lov-skee
  • Robert Lewandowski – Lev-and-ov-ski
  • Kamil Piątkowski – Pyont-kov-skee
  • Przemysław Płacheta – Pwa-khetta
  • Tymoteusz Puchacz – Pook-atch
  • Jakub Świerczok – Shfair-chock
  • Wojciech Szczęsny – Voy-chekh Sh-chen-sni

🇵🇹 Portugal 

Contrary to what most English speakers imagine, Portuguese sounds very different to Spanish. The 'r' at the start of Rui or Renato is a little bit like a rolled 'r' in French. The second vowels in 'Lopes' and 'Neves' get squashed down into a 'sh' – e.g. Lopsh, Nevsh.

  • Anthony Lopes – Lopsh
  • Bruno Fernandes – Fur-nandsh
  • Diogo Jota – Dee-ohg Zhotta
  • Gonçalo Guedes – Gon-sarlo Gair-diss
  • Raphael Guerreiro – Ge-ray-ro
  • João Félix – Joo-wow Fay-lix
  • João Moutinho – Joo-wow Mo-teen-oo
  • João Palhinha – Joo-wow Pal-een-a
  • Pedro Gonçalves – Gon-salvsh
  • Pepe – Pep (not 'Pep-eh')
  • Rúben Neves – Nevsh

🇷🇺 Russia 

Vowel sounds and the way they are stressed present the biggest challenges for English speakers, with common first names often not sounding exactly like their transcribed equivalents – hence Igor = Igar, Roman = Raman, Denis = Dinis, Oleg = Aleg. Surnames ending in 'ov' sound like 'off'.

  • Igor Diveev – Div-ay-ev
  • Artem Dzyuba – Dzyoo-ba
  • Aleksei Ionov – Ee-o-noff
  • Andrei Semenov – Se-myo-noff

🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 Scotland

Most native English speakers will be on safe ground.

  • Jon McLaughlin – Mag-loch-lin
  • Kieran Tierney – Teer-knee

🇸🇰 Slovakia 

Rules similar to Czech: an 'š' is a 'sh', a 'č' is a 'ch', but a 'c' is more like a 'ts'. Meanwhile, 'Ď' – with its superscript accent – sounds something like the 'dg' in 'hedge'.

  • Michal Ďuriš – Djoo-rish
  • Marek Hamšík – Ham-sheek
  • Patrik Hrošovský – Hroshov-skee
  • Tomáš Hubočan – Hoo-bo-chan
  • Dušan Kuciak – Koo-tsee-ack
  • Juraj Kucka – Koots-ka
  • Milan Škriniar – Shkrin-ee-ar
  • Dávid Strelec – Strell-ets

🇪🇸 Spain

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-eh
  • Diego and Marcos Llorente – Lorentay

🇸🇪 Sweden

That ‘g’ at the end of surnames sounds a lot like an English ‘y’; the 'j' also sounds like a 'y', while the first 'o' in many surnames is pronounced more akin to a 'u'. Where there's an 'rs' combo, it is an English 'sh'.

  • Marcus Berg – Berry
  • Emil Forsberg – Fosh-berry
  • Sebastian Larsson – La-shon
  • Victor Lindelöf – Lin-de-love
  • Robin Olsen – Ul-sen
  • Mattias Svanberg – Svan-berry

🇨🇭 Switzerland

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

🇹🇷 Turkey 

Umlauts do a similar job as in the Germanic languages, making an 'ş' a little like an English 'sh' and a 'c' more like a 'j'. The problem characters are the 'ğ' and the dotless 'ı' – both of which are very subtle sounds.

  • Kerem Aktürkoğlu – Actur-koch-loo
  • Altay Bayındır – Baynder
  • Uğurcan Çakır – Ooroojan Chak-r
  • Hakan Çalhanoğlu – Chalha-no-loo
  • Zeki Çelik – Cheleek
  • Halil İbrahim Dervişoğlu – Darvish-oh-loo
  • İrfan Can Kahveci – Car-vay-jee
  • Efecan Karaca – Efferjan Karaja
  • Orkun Kökçü – Kerk-cho
  • Çağlar Söyüncü – Cha-la Ser-yoon-choo
  • Yusuf Yazıcı – Yaz-idger

🇺🇦 Ukraine

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

🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 Wales 

  • Chris Mepham – Mepp-um
  • France - Next Match
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