How to pronounce UEFA EURO 2020 player names correctly | UEFA EURO 2020

The presence of many foreign players at the highest level of football in the British Isles has helped raise awareness among locals that not all names can be pronounced as if they are English.

The advent of UEFA EURO 2020 means that English speakers around the world now have to master many complicated names and combinations of vowels and consonants that seem foreign. Don’t be afraid: join us and learn how to pronounce the names of all players correctly.

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The basic rules of the German language apply – note that an ‘ä’, ‘ö’ or ‘ü’ umlaut looks like ‘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


Cor-twa tee-boAFP via Getty Images

Some names are pronounced Flemish and others French.

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


Rules of thumb: ‘š’ is a ‘sh’, ‘č’ and ‘ć’ are a bit like an English ‘ch’, and ‘j’ approximates 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


The accents on the vowels indicate where the pronunciation should be stressed (so ‘Tomáš’ is more like ‘Tom-aash’ for English speakers). A ‘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 – Chev-cheek
Tomáš Vaclík – Vatz-leek


Pierre-Emile Hoy-byer

Pierre-Emile Hoy-byerUEFA via Getty Images

This “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


Everything quite simple.


Vowels and accents can make a language more treacherous than it first appears (a Finnish “ä” looks a lot like the English “a” in “chapeau”).

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


On-twan Gree-ez-man

On-twan Gree-ez-manAFP via Getty Images

The vowels often confuse English speakers. Consonants too.

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 pose
Steve Mandanda – Stev Mon-don-dah
Mike Meignan – Mane-yoh
Marcus Thuram – Too-ram


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


One of the few European languages ​​that does not belong to the Indo-European group, Hungarian is not as punchy as it seems.

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


The most common mistake is to pronounce a ‘ch’ like an English ‘ch’ – it’s more of a ‘k’. Lorenzo Insigne is difficult to spot – linguists may notice that his “gn” functions 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


Georginio Why-naldum

Georginio Why-naldumUEFA via Getty Images

The sound gg is like the Scottish “loch”. The ‘ij’ has no direct English equivalent, but is milder than the ‘i’ in ‘end’ (and more like the Scottish ‘aye’, or ‘why’). The “or” is more pronounced than the English “out” – it’s like “ah-ou” are running together; so think of the “ow” when you nudge a door frame with your elbow.

Steven Bergwijn – Stay-ven Berugg-why-n
Matthijs de Ligt – Mat-ice Dull-icht
Roon’s Marten – Der-Clean
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 Macedonian names are transliterated from the Cyrillic alphabet so the hard work should have been done for you, but there are a few dangerous ones.

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


Robert Lev-et-ov-ski

Robert Lev-et-ov-skiUEFA via Getty Images

Polish is a much softer sounding language than all of the ‘k’ and ‘z’ suggest. A “Ł” or “ł” looks a bit like an English “w”, while the subscript emphasis on a “ę” or “ą” subtly adds an “n” to the vowel. 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-et-ov-ski
Kamil Piątkowski – Pyont-kov-skee
Przemyslaw Płacheta – Pwa-khetta
Tymoteusz Puchacz – Pook-atch
Jakub Świerczok – Shfair-shock
Wojciech Szczęsny – Voy-chekh Sh-chen-sni


Contrary to what most English speakers imagine, Portuguese sounds very different from Spanish. The ‘r’ at the beginning of Rui or Renato is a bit like a rolled ‘r’ in French. The second vowels in ‘Lopes’ and ‘Neves’ are overwritten into an ‘sh’ – eg 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’)
Ruben Neves – Nevsh


Meet the teams: Russia

Meet the teams: Russia

Vowels and the way they are accented 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 . Last names ending in ‘ov’ sound like ‘off’.

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


Most native English speakers will be on safe ground.

Jon McLaughlin – Mag-loch-lin
Kieran Tierney – Knee Cross


Similar rules to Czech: a ‘š’ is a ‘sh’, a ‘č’ is a ‘ch’, but a ‘c’ is more like a ‘ts’. Meanwhile, “Ď” – with its accent in superscript – sounds something like the “dg” in “hedge”.

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


Cesar Ath-pili-coo-et-a

Cesar Ath-pili-coo-et-aUEFA via Getty Images

Getting it right is difficult for the uninitiated, but the following pronunciations can bring you a little closer. César Azpilicueta’s Chelsea teammates nicknamed him “Dave” to avoid the difficulty of pronouncing his last name.

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


This “g” at the end of surnames looks a lot like an English “y”; the “j” also looks like a “y”, while the first “o” in many surnames is pronounced more like a “u”. Where there is 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


In addition to Switzerland’s mix of native languages ​​- French, Swiss German and Italian – the prominence of players of Albanian, Kosovar and Turkish descent 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
Granite Xhaka – Jakka


Cha-la Ser-yoon-choo

Cha-la Ser-yoon-chooUEFA via Getty Images

Umlauts do a similar job to Germanic languages, making a ‘ş’ much like an English ‘sh’ and a ‘c’ more like a ‘j’. The problematic characters are the dotless “ğ” and “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
rfan Can Kahveci – Car-vay-jee
Efecan Karaca – Efferjan Karaja
Orkun Kökçü – Kerk-choo
Cağlar Söyüncü – Cha-la Ser-yoon-choo
Yusuf Yazıcı – Yaz-idger


Transcribed – like Russian – from the Cyrillic alphabet, Ukrainian is notably easier to pronounce. The names sound largely as if they were printed. The number of ‘ys’ may throw out some English speakers, so it should be noted 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 “t” sounds like in Tsunami.

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


Mostly simple, but just in case …

Chris Mepham – Mepp-um

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