Germany, the reigning world champion(s)

JungKim

Senior Member
Korean
I think Germany is currently ranked #1 in football by FIFA and also won the former World Cup in Brazil.
And I notice some news articles describe the Germany football team in the plural (as in "Germany, the reigning world champions" or "former World Cup champs Germany") while others treat them as singular (as in "Germany, the reigning world champion" or "former World Cup champ Germany")

Are both correct?
 
  • Glasguensis

    Signal Modulation
    English - Scotland
    Both are possible, because whilst Germany, the country, is singular and would therefore require champion, the reference is to Germany’s football team, and it is customary to use plurals when referring to a team.
     

    JungKim

    Senior Member
    Korean
    Thanks. So the word 'champion' or 'champ' can refer to either a member of a team or a team as a whole?
     

    JungKim

    Senior Member
    Korean
    If it doesn't refer to members, I don't know why it can be treated as plural.
    Isn't the very reason a sports team can be treated as plural in BE is because a sports team comprises a plurality of members?
     

    Glasguensis

    Signal Modulation
    English - Scotland
    Only the team as a whole are champions - we do not usually use champion to refer to an individual member of the team.
     

    heypresto

    Senior Member
    English - England
    In sentences like 'Germany, the reigning world champions, crashed out of the World Cup the other day.' Or 'The World Cup winners' curse has struck again after South Korea dumped reigning champions Germany out of the 2018 tournament in Kazan.'
     

    Glasguensis

    Signal Modulation
    English - Scotland
    Then, how could 'champions' or 'champs' be used to refer to a single team? :confused:
    As I said in my original answer, we usually use the plural form when referring to a team.
    The team are outside.
    Fred, a member of the team, is outside.
    The team are the champions.
    We do not say, however, that Fred is the champion. It’s not a grammar issue, it’s simply that we don’t consider the individual members to be champions, only collectively as a group.
     
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