The language of football

Someone needs a geography lesson

So with the World Cup rapidly approaching (28 days!!!) Dundas FC is offering you a lesson in international footballing lingo, and it comes courtesy of the wonderful Guardian column The Knowledge.

You know when you slip the ball through an opponent’s legs (a nutmeg)? Well the French have a phrase for that, Le petit pont (little bridge). When you flick the ball over an opponent’s head and get it on the other side? The Spanish have a word for that, Sombrero. And in South Africa, when you circle the outside of your boot around the ball to fake an opponent, they call it a Shoeshine.

Many, many more after the jump. Any favourites? Any to add? Leave a comment.

CZECH

Angličan (“Englishman”) – a goal that goes in off a post.

Bundesliga – what Czechs call the mullet hairstyle!

Česka ulička (“Czech alley”) – A reverse pass through the opposing defence.

DANISH

Moses – dribbling between two defenders and into the penalty area (figuratively dividing the Red Sea).

Optimistblikket (“the optimist look”) – describes the focused expression on a player’s face as he intently watches the trajectory of a shot, suggesting it is going close when in fact it is travelling miles wide.

Pong – from the old Atari game, refers to the practice of knocking the ball around the back to waste time.

T?ler (“toe howler”) – a desperate kick with the big toe, lacking elegance, finesse and foresight.

DUTCH

Panna (“door or gate”) – nutmeg (especially in Surinamese Dutch).

Vuurpijl (“rocket”) – a bad attempted clearance whereby the ball is whacked straight up in the air.

FRENCH:

Aile de Pigeon (“pigeon’s wing”) – whereby a player raises the lower half of his leg behind him to sideways flick the ball forwards with his heel (eg Zlatan Ibrahimovich’s goal for Sweden against Italy in Euro 2004).

Le Foulard (“scarf”) – passing or crossing by bringing one leg behind the other so that legs are crossed (as often tried by Messrs Ronaldo and Cole).

Lanterne rouge (“red lantern”) – the team at the bottom of the league.

Le grand pont (“big bridge”) – knocking the ball to one side of an opponent and dashing around the other side to collect it.

Le petit pont (“little bridge”) – nutmeg.

La roulette – the Marseille turn, double drag-back, Zidane turn, Maradona turn, Rocastle 360, etc.

Le saut de grenouille (“frog’s jump”) – clasping the ball between both feet and jumping over the outstretched leg of an opponent.

GERMAN

Aufzugsmannschaft or Fahrstuhlmannschaft (“elevator/lift team”) – a yoyo-team (i.e. one that keeps getting promoted and relegated).

Anschlusstreffer – the goal that reduces the deficit to one (eg brings the score to 2-1 rather than 2-0).

Angstgegner (“fear-opponent”) – a bogey team.

Bauerntrick (“farmer’s trick”) – the Cruyff turn.

Bauernspitz (‘farmer’s point’) – like the Danish toe-howler, an oafish kick with the tip of the boot.

Blutgraetsche (‘blood straddle’ ) – sliding tackle that goes through the opposing player.

Ehrentreffer (“honour strike”) – consolation goal, also referred to as ergebniskosmetik (“result cosmetics”).

Englische Woche (“English week”) – a week in which a team plays both at the weekend and in midweek.

Gurkerl (“gherkin”) – nutmeg (in Austria).

Kerze (“candle”) – a bad attempted clearance whereby the ball is whacked straight up in the air (like the Dutch ‘rocket’, then).

Notbremse (“emergency brake”) – professional foul; when the lsat defender or the goalkeeper brings down a forward to prevent an almost certain goal.

Rote Laterne ( ‘red lantern’) – the team at the bottom of the league (this theme is also found in France, where the basement-dwellers are known as ‘la lanterne rouge’; in both countries, the last carriage on a train has a red light at the back).

Schwalbe (“swallow”, as in the bird) – blatant dive (also used in Dutch). Den sterbenden Schwan machen (“to do the dying swan”) is also very common.

Tunneln – to do a nutmeg.

Wembleytor (“Wembley goal”) – A ‘goal’ that is awarded even though the ball didn’t cross the line. No hard feeelings over 1966, then!

ITALIAN:

Catenaccio (“door bolt”) – a game tactic based on rigid defence and strategic fouls.

Cucchiaio (“spoon”) – The chipped penalty into the middle of the goal (as made famous by Czechoslovakia’s Anton?Panenka in Euro ’76 and regularly repeated by Francesco Totti).

Il Fantasista – the man in the hole behind the front two (whom Italians clearly believe should be a creative type).

Melina – passing the ball sideways in front of the defence to waste time when you are leading.

Zona Cesarini – Injury time (named after Renato Cesarini, who struck a very late winner for Italy against Hungary in 1931).

JAPANESE:

Boranchi (derived from the Portuguese word “volante”, which means “steering wheel”) – a holding midfielder.

Jisatsu-ten (“suicide point”) = own goal.

Rifutingu (“lifting”) – keepie-uppies.

PORTUGUESE (including Brazilian):

Artilheiro (“artilleryman”) – top scorer.

Brinca-na-areia (“plays in the sand”) – said of players who have excellent skills but no end product.

Chap? (“hat”) – sombrero, or dink over head and dash around to collect on other side.

Drible da vaca (“cow’s dribble”) – knocking the ball to one side of an opponent and dashing around the other side to collect it.

Embaixadinhas (“little embassies”, possibly derived from verb “baixar”, which means ‘to lower’ or ‘let fall’) – keepie-uppies.

Frango (“hen/chicken”) – originally only applied to when the ball went through the keeper’s legs but now the term for any goalkeeping blunder that results in a goal.

Ganhar de virada (“win by turnover”) – to come back from behind to win.

Jogador triatlo (“traithlon player”) – a player who runs about a lot and has an impressive repertoire of tricks but no end product.

Pedalada – multiple stepover.

Peixinho (“little fish”) – diving header

Piscin? (“big swimming pool”) – dive.

SPANISH:

Armario (“wardrobe”) – a burly central defender.

Chalaca – the term used in Peru and elsewhere in South America (though not Chile, as becomes clear below) for an overhead kick. Chalaca is the name given to anyone from Callao, a seaport a few miles from central Lima. During the 50s, the club Sport Boys of Callo employed a string of strikers who were experts at scoring from overhead kicks.

Chilena – what Chileans calls the overhead kick.

Cola de vaca (“cow’s tail”) – to stop the ball and change direction.

Chumpigol – a shot from a free-kick that goes through the wall and into the net (especially South American).

Gambeteando (“shrimping”) – the term used for long, swerving Maradona-style dribbles.

Gol Ol?ico – A goal scored directly from a corner.

Hacer la cama (“making the bed”) – When a player with a defender behind him doesn’t jump for a high ball in order to create the impression that the defender has held him down.

Hacer un sombrero (‘to make a hat’) – dinking the ball over an opponent’s head and running around to retrieve it.

Palomita (“little dove”) – diving header

Pepinazo (“big cucumber”) – powerful long-range shot.

Rabona (“cow’s whip”) – kicking the ball from behind the other leg (Argentina).

La vaselina – a chip over the goalkeeper’s head.

Veronica – a term sometimes used in Spain to describe the Zidane turn/double drag-back (according to Luca Barratti, it’s from bull-fighting where some particularly daredevil matadors perform a similar move).

SWAHILI

Kuvalisha kanzu (“wearing the a long prayer robe”) – sombrero, to dink the ball over an opponent’s head and collect it on the other side .

NON-UK ENGLISH

Rainbow – the term used in the United States to describe the trick of flicking the ball up with the heel of one foot and instep of the other while running over it so that the ball travels from below/behind you over your head (“or what me and my mates call the Ardiles flick because he did it in Escape to Victory,” says Kevin Thomas).

Shoeshine – South African term for running the outside of the boot around a stationary ball, usually to taunt a less skilful opponent.

YORUBA

Ogede (“banana”) – a curling shot.

Advertisements

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

One response to “The language of football

  1. Mike W

    I look forward to dropping the Portuguese lingo in my neighborhood Churrasqueira.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s