Les bleus – let’s start with the basics. The French football team are known as les bleus, and the classic cry of encouragement is Allez les bleus (go, France) so don’t be too surprised if someone shouts this at you (in a joking way, of course) if they hear you speaking English.
Les anglais – now we know that les anglais means ‘the English’, but the French are often somewhat vague on the difference between British and English. If you are Welsh, Scottish or Irish expect to be the subject of some banter about ‘your’ team this week, even if you are not supporting England. This might even happen if you are American, Australian or you just happen to be speaking English in public.
Je suis écossais / gallois/ irlandais, je déteste les anglais – start by explaining that you are Scottish/Welsh/ Irish and therefore don’t necessarily support the England team.
Sassenach – if you’re Scottish or Irish and you happen to know that the French person you’re talking to is a fan of the TV series Outlander, you could even chuck in the mildly derogatory term for the English ‘sassenach’ – when the Scotland-set series was dubbed into French the translators obviously couldn’t find a French equivalent of this and kept it in.
Les rosbifs/les beefs – if you are English you probably already know that your nickname in France is ‘les rosbifs‘ or ‘les rosbeefs‘ – the roast beefs. This refers to both the dish that is the classic for a British Sunday dinner and the red colour that pasty Brits go when exposed to too much French sunshine. Sometimes you will also hear simple ‘les beefs‘.
On va bouffer les beefs – the French verb bouffer is a slang word for eating, like to scoff, so this literally means ‘we are going to eat the beefs’ but you could translate it as something like ‘we’re going to eat that English team for breakfast’ – ie we are going to beat them easily.
Les grenouilles – food-based nicknames go both ways, if you want to translate ‘frogs’ into French it’s les grenouilles.
On va les pliér – literally translated as ‘we’re going to bend them’ it’s more like ‘we’ll smash ’em’ or ‘we’ll crush them’.
On va les tordres – similar to the above is this, literally meaning ‘we’re going to twist them’, but a similar sentiment to ‘we’ll hammer them’.
Qui ne saute pas n’est pas Français – Anyone not jumping is not French – you might here this one sung/shouted during the match if things are going well for France.
Un mouchoir – a tissue. If things don’t go well for England, expect your French friends and colleagues to be ‘helpfully’ offering you a tissue to dry your tears.
On est en demi ! – we’re in the semi finals. If France are in the semi finals then by definition they will have beaten England. You might also hear this sung (these lads below are singing on est en finale – we’re in the final – but it works for semi finals too).
Manu le poulpe – slightly bizarre one this, but you might have seen some headlines referring to the French president like this. It refers to Emmanuel Macron’s spookily accurate prediction for the France v Poland, where he not only correctly predicted the 3-1 score, but also predicted the three goal-scorers. Manu is the shortened version of Emmanuel and le poulpe (the octopus) refers to the late, lamented Paul the psychic octopus, who specialised in predicting football results.