World Cup Verb Tense Summary

Simple Present
The World Cup is held every four years. (Repeated activities)
Luis Suarez bites defenders. (Habits)
Lionel Messi is Argentinian. (Permanent states)
The final takes place on 13th July. (Calendar future)
The match kicks off at 9pm. (Timetable future)

Present Continuous
Costa Rica are winning one nil. (At the moment)
Rodriguez is performing brilliantly in this tournament. (In this period)
France are playing Germany in the next round. (Arrangement)

Future (will/shall/’ll)
I reckon Brazil will win again. (Prediction)
There’s an outside chance he will play. (Uncertainty)
My sister won’t go to football matches. (Refusal)
I’ll swap your Kevin Mirallas sticker for my David Silva. (Offer)
Okay, darling, I’ll come straight home after the final whistle. (Promise)
Apologise to your mother or you will not be allowed to watch the match. (Threat)
Shall we get together for the semi-final? (Suggestion)
Will you get up off your knees and stop praying? (Request)
– “I can’t watch any more!” – “I’ll turn off the TV for you.” (Spontaneous Decision)

Future (be going to + infinitive)
The humidity is going to be a big problem. (Evidence-based predictions)
I’m going to have a bet on Columbia. (Intentions)

Simple Past
Sweden reached the final in 1958. (Finished action, specified past time)
When did Italy last beat Spain? (Asking when something happened)
Where did you watch the match? (Both speaker and interlocutor know when the action happened)
Roberto Baggio played for Italy 56 times (Past action(s) that can’t or won’t be repeated)

Past Continuous
Mexico were winning until the Netherlands equalized in the 88th  minute. (Past action unfinished/interrupted at specified time)

Present Perfect Simple
I have been to Brazil. (Finished action that may be repeated; no specified past time)
De Jong has injured his groin. (Present consequence: now he is not able to play)
Ross Barkley has made nine appearances for England. (Past action(s) that can be repeated in the future)
They have won all their matches this year. (Finished action, specified present time)
Hodgson has been manager of England since 2012 (Unfinished action/state – with ‘How long…?’, ‘for’ or ‘since’)

Present Perfect Continuous
I have been trying to find the missing stickers for my World Cup 2014 album. (Recent activity, maybe finished, maybe unfinished)
My brother has been travelling to support England since he was 14. (Unfinished activity – with ‘How long…?’, ‘for’ or ‘since’)

1st: If they score, they will win. (Real possibility)
2nd: If they scored, they would win. (More remote hypothesis)
3rd: If they had scored, they would have won. (Now impossible)
Zero: If you score more goals, you win. (Always true)

Future Continuous
I will be flying over the Atlantic when the final is played. (Future action that will be unfinished at a specific future time)
We will be watching the semi-final at my brother’s place. (Future action which is the result of a previous arrangement)

Past Perfect
I had never had any problem with Maradona until the “Hand of God” incident. (Past action which precedes the past at issue)

This is an updated version of an article that originally appeared in my column for the Italian online newspaper da Bitonto (30th May 2014):



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