'Allez putain!': French phrases you need for the 2023 World Cup

Ben McPartland
Ben McPartland - [email protected]
'Allez putain!': French phrases you need for the 2023 World Cup
Photo by Joseph Prezioso / AFP

The women's football World Cup is underway and delivering top quality sport. The France team is now through to the quarter finals, so here are some helpful French phrases to shout while watching.


The French national team - among the bookies' favourites to win - were also making waves in the tournament run-up with this very clever advert (watch to the end for the reveal).


Allez les bleues!

Let's start with the basics. This literally means "Go the blues" and is perhaps the most popular phrase of French football (and rugby and handball) and you can shout it before, during, or after the game.

In French national teams everything is blue - men's teams are les bleus, women's teams les bleues and the junior teams are les bleuets (the 'little blues').

If you'd prefer, a similar version is "Allez les gars" (Allay lay garr) which means "Come on guys" in a kind of encouraging tone and can be used for both men's and women's teams (and other teams if you want to cheer on your home country).

You might also hear Allez les filles (go girls) at women's matches.

And if you want to urge France to score a goal then just shout allez! it's basically their version of come onnnnnn!

Anyone not jumping is not French

If things are hotting up, there could be a moment when all the French fans start jumping and chanting and you might want to jump with them.

They will likely be going through an old chant that basically says anyone who is not jumping isn't French or in the native language: "Qui ne saute pas n'est pas Français".


On est en finale

We don't want to get ahead of ourselves, but if les bleues qualify for the final, you'll hear this song a lot. Likewise if they qualify for the semis, it can be adapted to on est en demi (we're in the semi-final) - check out the tune below.


Speaking of songs, the 90s dance hit Freed From Desire is one of the unofficial anthems of the team, so expect to hear that belted out too. No need to learn the words - Na-na-na-na-na, na-na, na-na-na, na-na-na will mostly suffice.


While the Brits may say "YEAHHH" and the Spanish will say GOOOOOL to celebrate a goal, the French seem to have a couple of options. They might shout "BUUUUUT" (but = goal), a caveman-esque OUUUUUIIIIIII (or YESSSSSSS), or just GOAAALLL in English. 


The French won't hesitate to call out an actor, so if someone looks like they're faking an injury then yell out "comédien"


The French will shout this, or more likely "Pénaliteeeeeee" if they think France deserves a penalty.

Tirs au but

Tirs au but is the dreaded penalty shoot-out at the end of games which are still level after extra time.


This, as we've written before, is one of the most versatile and important swear words in French. It's roughly the equivalent of "fuck", and is useful to say when something astonishingly good happens (pu-taiiiiiiiin) or when something terrible happens (PU-TAIN! or Puttaaaaaaaaaaaaiiiiiiiiiiiiiiin). 

There are two ways to pronounce it. The first is puTAIN (pronounced poo-TAHn), the other drops out the u and becomes almost one syllable, so p'TAIN (pTAHn). 

And if things are not going well for Les Bleues we can expect the frustration levels to boil over and the swear words to really come firing out. 

Putain will become putain de merde if the opposition score, and if they score again then feel free to use putain de bordel de merde in sympathy with your frustrated French friends.


Oh là là là là là là !

Slightly more family-friendly and often heard on TV commentary is the super-charged version of oh là là ! - it can be either good or bad but often used for moments of surprise, such as when a player misses an open goal.


Feel like an opposing player is offside? Then yell out "hors-jeu". Pronounced: orr zheurgh.

Arbitre carton jaune!

Does a player deserve a yellow card? Then tell the ref, of course. Just yell out something that sounds like "Arrbeet karton zhonne".

But the reality is you will normally hear the French most football fans insulting the referee when he makes a decision they don't like, in which case if you want to join in you could say:

Arbitre enculé! - which basically means you bastard referee, a phrase we obviously don't condone.

The classic refereeing insult in French is Aux chiottes arbitre! which literally means "to the toilet referee!"


You also might hear these words a lot: Putain d'arbitre.

And another word you can shout at the referee if you think a French player has been fouled is Faute! If he doesn't give the foul then see above for how to react.

Many French fans won't hesitate to yell out payé after a bad call, suggesting the referee has indeed been paid off. 


This word, pronounced kind of like "marn", is what you should yell if a player appears to touch the ball (or "handball" in English). 

Quel but! 

Lastly, shout out "quel but" or "What a goal!" when the star strikers do their thing.

And the national anthem - La Marseillaise

France has one of the world's best national anthems for sporting purposes, it's got a really rousing tune and suitably combative lyrics. As such it's often belted out by fans at key moments during a match, in addition to the formal pre-match anthems.

The full lyrics are;

Allons enfants de la patrie Le jour de gloire est arrivé Contre nous de la tyrannie L'étendard sanglant est levé L'étendard sanglant est levé Entendez-vous dans vos campagnes Mugir ces féroces soldats Ils viennent jusque dans vos bras Égorger vos fils et vos compagnes
Aux armes citoyens, formez vos bataillons Marchons, oui marchons Qu'un sang impur abreuve nos sillons


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