English Vocabulary Football Words and Phrases

The World Cup 2018 is being hosted by Russia (in case you did not know!) and World Cup Fever (excitement) has taken hold of everyone. Here are some useful English vocabulary football words and phrases that you might find useful.

Football is truly (really) an international language. When it comes to (when it arrives) the World Cup even those individuals who normally do not watch games will be glued to (watching enthusiastically) their TV screens. The tournament (competition) is well under way (has begun) and the excitement is building. Thirty two teams qualified for the final stages (the last part of the competition) after more than two years of qualifying matches in various regions (zones) all over the world. These teams came together and the competition kicked off (started) on the 15th June 2018. The qualifiers were divided in to eight groups of four teams (4 teams in each group A- H). The teams were seeded (separated/divided) so that all the best teams could not be drawn (placed) together in the same group. There were four seedings 1-4. This draw took place in December 2017so everyone has known for several months which teams they would play. Every team has now played the other three teams in its group. So each team has three matches (games) and the top two teams in each group qualify for the next stage (part/round) of the competition. This is referred to as the knock out stages (if you lose you go home!) or the last 16.

English Football Vocabulary

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After that round (last 16) we then have the quarter finals (last eight) then the semi finals (last four) until we only have 2 teams remaining in the final game. The decider (to decide who is the overall winner). Before the final match scheduled for the 15 th July there is a play-off between the 2 losing semi finalists (the 2 teams who lost in the semi final games). This will decide who finishes 3 rd and 4 th . I always think this is an unnecessary game as most teams are tired and when you have lost at the semi-final stage you really only want to get away (leave) and go home. However, the organisers require this game to take place and it is usually held (happens) on the eve of the final (the evening before the final game). People seldom (rarely) remember who finished 3 rd or 4 th in any World Cup. At this stage I hope your favourite team is still involved (still in with a chance of winning) and you can look forward to a few more exciting games. This World Cup has been different for many reasons. It is being held in a country unknown to many many people and I think everyone has been taken back by (surprised) the friendly reception the utter joy (pleasure) that so many fans have experienced in the 12 cities in which the games are being staged (played). In addition we also have the use of technology and this has certainly had an impact (effect) on many of the games. Firstly there is goal line technology which confirms that the ball (football) crosses the goal line (the white line between the goal posts) and secondly the use of VAR (Video assisted Referee) which the referee can use to decide whether a penalty kick can be awarded (can be given) or not inside the penalty area and also whether there is justification (if he the referee has the right) to dismiss (send off/red card) a player for a serious foul. Already there have been more penalties awarded than in any previous World Cup. Whether you love or loathe it (like or hate it) it has certainly added to the excitement and resulted in many interesting discussions and arguments about the “beautiful game”.

English Vocabulary Football Words and Phrases

Here are some well known English vocabulary football words and phrases:


This usually refers to somebody who tells the boss or someone in authority that something illegal or wrong is going on. In modern language they are called

ex. A whistleblower in the banks treasury department told the managers that some illegal trades were taking place. He blew the whistle on those traders.


When you are undecided or do not want/wish to commit yourself to something then you often kick for touch and hope to avoid having to make a decision immediately.

ex. His boss asked him to let him know if he would go to Hungary for 1 month to sort a business problem out. He really didn’t want to go for such a long period. He decided to kick for touch and told his boss he would give him an answer the following week.


We usually use this phrase to confirm when a business deal has been concluded satisfactorily.

ex. He had been working on this potential client for 6 months. He was delighted when the client finally agreed to deal with his company and signed the contract there and then. The deal was finally over the line after a long six months.


A person who works well in a team. In business some employees are selfish and only interested in their own objectives and focus only on their career. Others help their colleagues work hard and late when
necessary and generally go the “extra mile” if asked by the boss. These are real team players and every business needs them.

ex. Chris is a real team player, he is always prepared to go the “extra mile” to get the job done.

Now when we have covered most useful English vocabulary football words and phrases, it’s time for you to get the best seats in the house and watch your favourite team play!

More Information

For more information in English Expressions, English Phrasal Verbs and English Grammar Rules, check ou the following links:

English Verbs Expressing Sounds

Present Simple vs Present Continuous

English Expressions with LOOK

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