It's a question that's bound to divide opinion. Some may say "battling", for the way in which the team fought for a point against finalists France and Denmark.

"Blunt", would be a fair assessment, alluding to the clear lack of goalscoring nous in the side. Others may opt for "promising", reflecting the bright off-the-bench cameos from Daniel Arzani.

Fortunately, research undertaken by the Cambridge University Press during the tournament has applied a bit of science, revealing the top three most commonly-used words used so far to describe each of the World Cup's 32 teams.

In a global language study, The Press mined over 12 million words of media coverage to analyse the language used when discussing each participating team. It has also asked fans to submit the words they would use to describe their national teams.

"It's been great to see the correlation", said senior research manager Laura Grimes. "We've combined these two data sets to select the three words most strongly associated with each team."


The results for the Socceroos cut straight to the point - "head home", "bow out" and, most cutting of all, "failed". The latter, though brutal, is true, given the target of the team and hope of the nation was to escape what was a competitive group.


England's three words are altogether more flattering. "Southgate", "confident" and "fresh" capture the optimism that surrounded the Three Lions during their campaign, in which they reached their first World Cup semi-final in 28 years.


The favourites in the final are deemed "formidable" and "dramatic", yet "lucky". Aussie fans vexed by the theatrics of Theo Hernandez in the opening group game might testify the dramatic part.

The fact that four of their five victories so far have been earned by a narrow one-goal margin offers some endorsement to the notion that they have rode their luck a little, but with Kylian Mbappe thrilling up front, they are undoubtedly formidable.


Their opponents, Croatia, were unfavoured at the start of the tournament, and that is reflected in their three tags - "dark horse", "dominate" and "impress".

They made their domination in the second half and extra time count to eliminate England in the semi-finals, aided again by the consistently impressive Luka Modric.

The study isn't over, yet - the Cambridge University Press is still inviting submissions for the public’s top three words to describe each national team.

To contribute, simply visit, click on any country and enter the three words you feel best describes that team.