Sport 2: winning, losing, and scoring

Winning and losing

Notice how these key words are used:
Spain beat Switzerland 3-2. (= Switzerland lost to Spain 3-2) In other words:
Spain won the match. (= Switzerland lost the match)
Spain defeated Switzerland. (= Switzerland were defeated by Spain)
Spain were the winners. (= Switzerland were the losers)
If both teams or players have the same score (= number of goals or points), it is a draw (e.g. 2-2 is a draw). We can also use draw as a verb, e.g. we drew yesterday’s match/game 2-2.

Note: A match is used for an organised game: We had a game of football with a few friends in the park, but we’ve got an important match against a very good team next week.

When the game is still in progress, we often use the verb lead to describe the position of the teams and players, or latest to describe the score:


At half-time, Spain are leading Switzerland two-one. (= the latest score is two-one to Spain) Sampras is leading three-two in the first set. (= the latest score is three-two to Sampras)

What’s the score?

In most games you score goals (e.g. football, hockey) or points (e.g. table tennis, basketball). At the end of the game there is a result (= players/teams win, lose, or draw). However, the scoring system – and the way we describe it – is different from game to game.


In many sports, players and teams play every week in a league (the player/team that wins the most games in a season is the winner of the league championship). In most sports, there is also a cup competition, which is usually a knock-out competition.