Translation:Italy was world champion four times.
I agree with Shortplanks…the best, most colloquial sounding English translation would not be Italy was world champion four times. It sounds terrible. We (at least in the US) would say that Italy WON the world championship 4 times.
"...a seleção brasileira, vencendo todas as partidas do mundial de 2002 e mantendo sua hegemonia: em 1970, o Brasil se tornara a primeira seleção tricampeã mundial, em 1994 se tornara a primeira tetracampeã, e em 2002, a primeira pentacampeã." https://pt.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sele%C3%A7%C3%A3o_Brasileira_de_Futebol
Italy was world champion four times - this is not what we would say in English, We would be more likely to say Italy were world champions four times. Although Italy, the country, is singular, we treat it as a plural because a country is made up of more than one thing.
Since it's talking about Italy, the country (a unified entity/nation) that won the championship, I have to disagree with you and say that "were" looks unnatural to me. I found an article about it, if you'd like to take a peek. http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learningenglish/radio/specials/1535_questionanswer/page51.shtml
I'm assuming this sentence is talking about Italy the football team because the statistics are correct. You can either think that the Italian team play as a single unit, or they are playing as a group of individual players. In the UK, our newspapers have whole sections devoted to football and I'm fairly sure they would all choose "Italy were champions" over "Italy was champion" even if that sounds strange to American ears.
[Added later] See this article on some of the differences between US and UK usage: http://tinyurl.com/oeombhe
I guess it's a matter of perspective, that might even be influenced from where you come from (Like you said). To me, since these teams represent the country, to bring glory to the name and everything in a world championship, the country and the team can't be separated!
Here is a typical UK newspaper report about a football match:
You can already see from the URL the use of the plural. If you read further on you'll see this fragment: "... Italy were quickly level through a fine Ciro Immobile goal". There are several other examples as well.
Curious how English usage varies so much throughout the world. I guess on Duolingo we should use US English or lose hearts.
Just a quick reply to MRMsys. I understand your point, but there is no such thing as "standard English" in this case and US and UK English usage differs.
On the face of it accepting both styles should work but I'm not so sure it is that easy. Which variant should be chosen when this question is set in the reverse direction? If you were happy to answer "Italy were ..." here, you would probably be upset to have to translate from "Italy was ..." later on. The way Duolingo have resolved this problem is to settle on US usage (unsurprisingly). There are very few examples of this type of problem and they really don't interfere much with the goal of learning Brazilian Portuguese.
No, you should not lose hearts (or heart), but rather report any instance in which standard English is not accepted. The goal of this section is to learn Brazilian Portuguese, remember.
cloudhorizon's link is talking about a country, 'The United States', and misses the point Shortplanks2009 has made, which is how people actually talk about sport in his country (which I assume is England).
In this particular sentence we are not talking about a single country rather a team made up of individual players. See also: Family, company, and similar 'group nouns'.
Oxford Practice Grammar (Intermediate) by John Eastwood, Appendix 5: American English, section K, page 379, offers this comparison:
"In Britain a group noun can usually take either a singular or a plural verb. The crowd was/were getting restless. Sweden plays/play Germany tomorrow.
In the US a group noun takes a singular verb. The crowd was getting restless. Sweden plays Germany tomorrow."
However, even American English can go both ways depending on whether you are using a team's place name (e.g. Chicago) or their mascot name (e.g. the Bears, notice the 's' ending).
Deixa pra lá. Vamos aprender o português.
I got it wrong too. It's definitely a UK/US English thing. I'm from the US, but I have taught from Oxford, Cambridge, and Pearson Longman textbooks for about 10 years now, and I cannot go back. Wouldn't get too hung up on it though. Focus on the the goal: A língua portuguesa!
"23/10/14 Ulster 13 Toulon 23, European Champions Cup match report: Two-time defending champions take big step towards the knockout stages."
So, at least in British English, Italy is the four-time world championship.
("four-time" is used as an adjective, so it is not pluralized.)
"campeão" is used for masculine, singular nouns, and "campeã" is used for feminine, singular nouns.
My native language is not english but I would say:
"Italy was four times world champion"