How To Pronounce All The Players’ Names At The 2024 European Football Championship

Players from all over the world are gathered to play. Stay ahead of the game by learning how to talk about them.
Football players' names pronunciation represented by a goalkeeper failing to block the ball from going into the net.

Knowing someone’s name is a sign of respect, and pronouncing it correctly shows greater regard. With 24 countries involved in the European Men’s Football Championship, it’s a cultural melting pot and a linguistic minefield. For instance, did you know that in Hungarian, surnames come before first names? To help you sound like a true football expert this summer, Babbel offers a lesson in intercultural understanding. 

Special playlists for each of the 24 participating football teams have been created to demonstrate how to pronounce the names of over 500 players correctly. Each track features the player’s first and last name, spoken by a native speaker of their country. A practical tool for fans, journalists and commentators alike, who need to pronounce international names correctly before a live audience of millions. Of course, it’s not about achieving perfection, but rather about showing respect for one another.

The Trickiest Names At This Year’s Championship

1. Francisco Conceição (Portugal) [link]
2. Charles De Ketelaere (Belgium) [link]
3. Morten Hjulmand (Denmark) [link]
4. Aurélien Tchouaméni (France) [link]
5. Khvicha Kvaratskhelia (Georgia) [link]
6. Lutsharel Geertruida (Netherlands) [link]
7. Wojciech Szczęsny (Poland) [link]
8. Ionuţ Nedelcearu (Romanian) [link]
9. Norbert Gyömbér (Slovakia) [link]
10. Nino Žugelj (Slovenia) [link]
11. Xherdan Shaqiri (Switzerland) [link]
12. Mojmír Chytil (Czech Republic) [link]
13. Çağlar Söyüncü (Turkey) [link]
14. Georgiy Bushchan (Ukraine) [link]
15. Zsolt Nagy (Hungary) [link]

While this just scratches the surface, Babbel’s playlists for the European Championship will make sure that you’re able to pronounce the names of all participating players correctly — whether you’re celebrating a goal at home, talking shop with other fans or even commentating on TV or radio. 

You can access the individual playlists here: Albania, Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, England, France, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Scotland, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, Türkiye, Ukraine.

Why Names Can Be So Tricky

But what makes certain names so difficult for people to pronounce? Maren Pauli, Head of B2B Didactics at Babbel, explains: “Some letter and sound combinations are not present in other languages, such as the ‘hj’ in the Danish player Morten Hjulmand or when different consonant combinations are strung together. This means that you would first have to hear the name to really know how to pronounce it correctly. Every alphabet also has its own rules, so you have to understand how letters in each one are pronounced. The Swedish ø or the Turkish ‘ğ’ are good examples of this and are not pronounced like ‘o’ or ‘g’ in English. Polish letter combinations such as ‘sz’ also have their own pronunciation (like ‘sch’ in this case) — if you know these rules, pronunciation is often much easier.”

So how do you pronounce it? What are Pauli’s tips and tricks?

“Don’t let the letters put you off! Many sounds look challenging at first, but once you’ve heard how they are pronounced, they can often be imitated quite easily,” she said. “The most important thing is to show that we make an effort to pronounce other people’s names correctly, even if we’re not 100 percent sure.”

Why It’s Important (And Respectful) To Pronounce Names Correctly

Pronouncing names correctly, or at least attempting to do so, is more than just politeness or a display of linguistic expertise: It’s a sign of respect. Every name has its own meaning, background and cultural context. So taking this into account and making an effort to pronounce it correctly shows appreciation.

This is particularly important for journalists and commentators. They are the voices that accompany the matches and represent the players in front of millions of viewers, so they play a decisive role in determining which pronunciation of the names is adopted.

The correct pronunciation is also important for fans. It helps them to better identify with the players and promotes respectful interaction. At an international tournament like the European Championship, where people from different countries come together, it’s important to  respect the diversity of each culture.

That’s why Babbel created this guide, in the hope that it can be used to make the European Championship a respectful and unifying experience.

Learn a new language today.
Try Babbel For Free