A soccer coach said this at a press conference a couple of days go .

“I think that out of all the teams we were looking at, certainly from my point of view, Australia was the team I would’ve liked to have played".

His team hasn't faced Australia yet. The match is going to be held in Sidney this november.

I think wanted to play sounds better than would have liked to have played in this context.

It should be" Australia was the team I wanted to play "

*a british guy in another forum told me that it was right but I don't think he read my post carefully.

There's quite a difference between wanted and would have liked although they mean almost the same in the present tense (want-would like), e.g

-I wanted to get a iPhone 8 for my birthday so I asked my mom to buy me one. She bought me the gold one .

-I would have liked to get an iPhone 8 for my birthday but when i asked my mom to buy me one, she told me to forget it and bought me a chinese phone instead.

Would have liked (to) is the same as I would have wanted (to). They are 3red conditionals.

  • third conditional describes an unreal situation with reference to the past that didn't happen. And although the match hasn't happened yet, the odds of the match against Australia happening are almost 99%

What do you guys think ?

disclaimer: I know the sentence in question is not a conditional but you what you know what mean. the same rules of the third conditional are applied in this type of would -have sentences


1 Answer 1


The coach was speaking in the past tense (" ... all the teams we were looking at ...") presumably referring to a previous stage of the competition. The hypothetical match against Australia was also in the past ("... liked to have played"). They would have liked to have played Australia in the past. They may or may not still want to play Australia.

That's what the coach said. What they meant you'll have to decided for yourself from context.

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