France 3 - Italy 0


Senior Member
Suppose that we are watching a soccer play between France and Italy.

The game is not finished and the result in time 60:55 is => France 3 - Italy 0 (France has shot three goals to Italy.)

I don't know how to say the blue part in colloquial English. These are self-made:

1. France is 3 ahead of Italy.
2. France is 3 upper than Italy.

Are my self made examples OK?

Thank you.
  • sb70012

    Senior Member
    Thank you.
    What if I want to use Italy first? I mean:

    1. Italy is back/behind France three goals.

    Does this work? If not, then how should I use Italy first?

    Thank you.

    sound shift

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I follow football (soccer).

    For "France 3 - Italy 0" I don't hear or say "France is three ahead of Italy" or "France is three upper than Italy".

    I hear and say:

    "France are three-nil up against Italy";
    "France lead Italy by three goals to nil";
    "France are beating Italy by three goals to nil".

    "France are three up against Italy" and "Italy are trailing France by three goals" mean that France have scored three more goals than Italy. The score is not necessarily 3 - 0. It could be 3 - 0, or it could be 4 - 1, 5 -2, 6 - 3, etc.

    Why "are"? Because in BrE we regard a team as a collection of players and therefore plural.
    Last edited:


    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    In AE both these are used:

    Italy is behind by three goals. (note: not "behind France")
    Italy is trailing France by three goals.

    Edit: What post #8 says is the same in the US: in soccer it is unusual to just say ahead/behind/trailing and not actually mention both scores.


    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    Thank you but why "are"? Italy needs "is". Doesn't it?
    No: there have been a number of recent previous threads about this, but in short - in BE you can use either. When talking/writing football, it's common to regard a team as made up of a number of individual players and use the plural "are". :)
    < Previous | Next >