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Fresh, confident and Southgate – the key words to describe England team

Researchers mined international media to discover the words most associated with each World Cup team.

England may have looked “confident” during their World Cup campaign but Croatia were the ones to “dominate” in Wednesday night’s match, setting them up for a final against “formidable” France.

These are among the most popular words used to describe teams in this summer’s tournament, according to research by Cambridge University Press.

Researchers have mined more than 12 million words of international media coverage – including newspaper articles and blogs – over the last month to discover the words associated with each team.

Unsurprisingly, “Southgate” is one of the top three words linked to England, with the manager becoming a national hero, while the other two are “fresh” and “confident”.

It’s been a dramatic and surprising tournament and this is certainly reflected by the language used in the media, as well as by football fans. Laura Grimes

Meanwhile, Croatia, who dashed England’s hopes of a World Cup final spot, are the “dark horse”, the research found, while “dominate” and “impress” were also frequently used in connection with the team.

Croatia’s World Cup final opponents, France, are associated with the words “formidable” and “dramatic” as well as “lucky”.

Meanwhile, the most popular three words for home team Russia are “host”, “fans” and “low-ranking”.

Laura Grimes, of Cambridge University Press, said: “The huge amount of language data we’ve collected and analysed gives us fascinating insight into the mood surrounding the World Cup.

“It’s been a dramatic and surprising tournament and this is certainly reflected by the language used in the media, as well as by football fans.”

Top three words for each team:

– Argentina: Messi, scraped, struggled
– Australia: head home, bow out, failed
– Belgium: eased, star-studded, cruised
– Brazil: favourite(s), nervous, expect
– Colombia: dangerous, unsporting, struggled
– Costa Rica: eliminated, suffered, Navas
– Croatia: dark horse, dominate, impress
– Denmark: penalty, propel, concede
– Egypt: happy, hope, lack
– England: Southgate, confident, fresh
– France: formidable, dramatic, lucky
– Germany: upset, stunned, eliminated
– Iceland: debutants, surprise, newcomer
– Iran: underdog, ambitious, VAR
– Japan: heartbroken, emotional, clean
– Mexico: thumped, thrashed, stunned
– Morocco: fined, eliminated, upset
– Nigeria: fail, struggle, kit
– Panama: pitiful, minnows, bully
– Peru: struggle, missed, waste
– Poland: fail, suffer, concede
– Portugal: thrilling, hat-trick, Ronaldo
– Russia: low-ranking, host, fans
– Saudi Arabia: happy, defeat, thrashing
– Senegal: yellow cards, partying, stunned
– Serbia: controversial, gesture, dominate
– South Korea: plucky, skill, hope
– Spain: sack, frustrate, fail
– Sweden: impressive, clinch, dominate
– Switzerland: battle, held, secure
– Tunisia: redeemed, fail, keeper
– Uruguay: dangerous, success, defence.

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