Football VocabularyUsing English to Discuss Football

Football vocabulary is useful for discussing football matches, understanding commentary ad giving your opinions.

As football is so popular in the UK, some of these words and phrases may come in handy!

The football vocabulary here will be especially useful around important during certain times of the footballing calendar, such as near a World Cup, European Championship or FA Cup Final.


General English Football Vocabulary

Footballer, player, manager, player-manager, coach

Squad, team, first team, reserves, substitutes

Supporters, crowd, fans

Match, game, commentator, club, team

The attack, forward, striker, attacker, target man

The defense, defender, fullback, right back, left back, central defender, centre half, sweeper

The midfield, midfielder, winger

Goalkeeper, keeper, goalie


Referee, ref, linesman / lineswoman, forth official

Pitch, ground, stands, stadium, terrace

Booked, sent off, red card, yellow card, foul, hand ball, obstruction, trip, push

Offside, disallowed, ruled out

Throw-in, goal kick, corner kick, free kick, penalty, direct / indirect free kick, defensive wall

Own goal, hat-trick, brace

Corner flag, goal mouth, touch line, penalty box / penalty area / the box / the area, post, cross bar, net


Half time, full time, final whistle

Dressing room, changing room, dugout

Kit, shirt, shorts, socks, football boots, studs, shin pads/guards

Man of the match, player of the match

The football league, the premiership, the women’s super league (WSL), the champions’ league, non-league

FA Cup, League Cup, World Cup, European Championships, Coppa America, African Nations

FA (Football Association – body governing men’s football in England)

WFA (Women’s football association – body governing women’s football in England)

PFA (Professional Footballers’ Association)

UEFA – Union of European Football Associations

FIFA – Fédération Internationale de Football Association (trans. International Association of Association Football)

Premier League – top division in men’s football

Championship – second division in men’s football

WSL / Women’s Super League – top division in women’s football

a tackle, a pass, a header, a cross, a shot, a lob, a back pass, a dive, a deflection, a deflected shot, an interception

to shoot, to score, to tackle, to cross, to pass, to dive, to intercept

three-two, one-nil, two all, a draw, a score draw, won (to win), lost (to lose), drew (to draw)


English football vocabulary and phrases

Common slang phrases

‘on the bench’ – a substitute

‘a dive’ – pretending to be fouled by falling over

‘an early bath’ – left the pitch early, sent off

‘early doors’ – early in the match

‘a shimmy’ – to shuffle the feet to confuse another player

‘a one-two’ – a fast, one-touch move where a player passes the ball to a team mate and receives the ball straight back again

‘to get a red card’ – to be sent off

‘to get a yellow card’ – to be booked

‘It’s hit the bar’ – the shot hit the cross bar

‘a tap in’ – an easy goal where a player just taps the ball into the net from close range

‘a nutmeg’ – a cheeky move where a player passes the ball through another player’s legs

‘He’s scored a brace of goals’ – he’s scored two goals in the same match

‘That’s a hat-trick’ – when someone has scored three goals in the same match

‘On the edge of the area’ – on the edge of the penalty box

football penalty box

Football phrases you might want to use

Which team do you support?

Did you see that tackle?

That must be a penalty!

How long until half time?

How long have they been playing?

I can’t believe he didn’t score from there!


Football phrases you may hear on television or at a live match

The ref has blown his whistle for half time

He’s crossed it into the box

He’s brought him down and that will surely mean a yellow card

That’s a good run

The goal has been disallowed

The score is one – nil

It’s a draw

Explore more football phrases in our FA Cup blog post and our Women’s Euros post.

Share your thoughts on football vocabulary

Can you think of more useful vocabulary to discuss football?

Are there any football phrases you find confusing?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments!


Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *