I’m sure that it’s difficult for World Cup soccer players to hear each other over the vuvuzelas. When the words do make it through that drone, they probably have a difficult time understanding their own teammates. In many matches, they can only guess at what their opponents are saying. Goal appears to be universal even if the O-sound has a slightly different shading from country to country.
When we lived in Merano, Italy, I had a taste of this as I watched a team from my son’s club take on a local German speaking team. The Italian coach would yell things like “Forza!” and “Dai!” (Loosely translated as “Strong!” and “Come on!”) “Dai” sounds a lot like “Die!” so it took awhile for my American ears to get used to that. About the only word that I recognized from the German coach was “Schnell!” (Fast) I used this experience for one scene in my girls’ soccer novel, DEFENDING IRENE.
But if you’d like a taste of what it would feel to be coached by someone in a different language, you can click on this link for a story that appeared in Highlights back in 2006.