In 2018, Japanese national soccer team called Samurai Blue took part in the World Cup held in Russia and won to the round of 16.

Is there anything wrong in the sentence? Should there be the definite article "the" before "Japanese"? If yes, then why?

  • 1
    You need an article before Japanese national soccer team (either the or a, but the latter only works if we assume there could be more than one such team). That's because those four words collectively represent the subject of the verb called. But note that this aspect of English syntax is unaffected by the presence of three adjectival elements before the "head noun" team, so it's the same with A team was disqualified, The team won both matches. Also note that if the verb called is removed, you don't need any article at all. Feb 19, 2020 at 14:36

1 Answer 1


Yes, the sentence does require an article before the word Japanese. It's because we don't talk about team.

We talk about a team or the team. The choice would depend on whether the writer thought that the intended audience were familiar with Samurai Blue. If yes, then use the definite article. If no, the indefinite. If unsure, use either one.

And the expression is NOT win to the round. It is win through to the round or got through to the round.

Finally, NOT the round of 16, just to round 16 (or possibly the quarter finals etc, depending on how many rounds there were).


  • Wouldn't "round 16" imply "the 16th round"? "the final 16" might be a better choice (Quarter Finals would be the final 8). Also, and I'm going back-and-forth on this: while "Japanese national soccer team called Samurai Blue" is clearly wrong, and "the Japanese national soccer team called Samurai Blue" is much better, would "Japanese national soccer team 'Samurai Blue'" (treating "Japanese national soccer team" in its entirety as an adjective for the pronoun "Samurai Blue") also be valid? Feb 19, 2020 at 10:39
  • @Chronocidal Agreed, round 16 is the 16th round as opposed to the final 16 and there are in practice seldom 16 rounds. As to the alternative description of the team, I think it would work better in some contexts than others. Sports reporters frequently omit articles (and much else besides). Feb 19, 2020 at 10:44

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