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I don't know if you watch Champions League, which is a European soccer league. However, in the beginning of this season, no one expected that Juve, an Italian team, could reach the semi final, but Juve did. so I wrote this sentence

No one would have thought that Juve could play the semi final for this year.

is it correct? or it should be

No one would think that Juve could play the semi final for this year?

  • Your first sentence is correct: No one would have thought that Juve could play semi final for this year. or you can also simply say No one ever thought that Juve could play semi final for this year. – Man_From_India Mar 22 '15 at 9:02
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No-one had any doubts that they could 'play' it - the doubt was that they would still be in the competition at that stage; so 'play' is not interchangeable with 'reach'.
Longer form would be maybe 'get as far as'.
Meaning 2 at OALD which has some other synonyms too. Not all of these would work for this sentence; those in italics are definitely out:

arrive at, get to, get as far as, come to, make it to, gain, end up at, land up at, set foot on

informal: make, hit

Also, there's no need for 'for this year'. Just 'this year'.

Something I can't put my finger on also wants me to substitute 'could' for 'would'.

There are also some 'football-specific' ways that commentators/pundits refer to things…
Semi-finals is almost always plural if you are referring generally to both, at a distance - there are two of them, of course, yet only one final.
If you were referring to one specific match, 'the semi-final between A & B' then it would be singular.

They also almost always refer to the 'year' as the 'season'.

So, one option, very colloquial & 'football-style' would be...

No-one would have thought that Juve would make the semi-finals this season.

  • 1
    is it a type when u wrote have have? it should be one have right? – Marco Dinatsoli Mar 22 '15 at 11:02

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