World Cup 2018 survival guide: Essential football lingo glossary

World Cup 2018 fever has well and truly kicked off. And, with the games about to get underway, there’s no better time than now to scrub up on the lingo you’ll need to survive this year’s World Cup tournament.

So, just in time for the World Cup, here’s some essential football lingo from around the world we dug up for you:


Golazo (great goal): You’ll hear fans and commentators shouting this whenever there’s a brilliant strike.

Hacer la cama (to make the bed): A term used when a squad is thought to be conspiring to get their coach sacked.

Manos de manteca (butter hands): You’ll hear fans yell this at a dodgy goalkeeper.


Pisballetje (pee shot): A poor attempt at a goal kick that doesn’t reach its target.


Chapéu (hat): Having an opponent lift the ball over your head.

Craque (ace): The word comes from the English military term “crack”, which was used for an elite soldier. When it comes to football for the Brazilians, the term is used for any football legend – like Pele, Ronaldo or Neymar.

De três dedos (with 3 toes): To swerve the ball with the outside of your foot.

Mata-mata (kill-kill): “Sudden death” in a penalty shootout.


El scorpion (the scorpion): The legendary ‘scorpion’ save, as mastered by Colombian keeper Rene “El Loco” René Higuita against England back in 1995.


Promašio večeru (to miss one’s dinner): When a player messes up an easy chance at a goal.


Patate (potato): A term for a high-speed, long-range goal.

Fessee (spanking): A crushing defeat.


Arschkarte (arse card): A term for a red card. Called ‘Arschkarte’ because the referee keeps the card in his back pocket.

Blutgrätsche (blood tackle): A dangerous, studs-up tackle.


Gollonzo (comedy goal): A goal scored in comical circumstances.


Shugoshin (guardian deity): A particularly inspiring performance from a goalkeeper.


Amarrabola (ball-lover): When a player is so attached to the ball, he decides not to pass it to anyone else.


Podanie na zapalenie pluc (pneumonia pass): A poor pass.


Banho de bola (shower of balls): When a team has completely wiped out its opponent.

Ficar na mama (stay at the teat): Used to describe a striker who doesn’t want to leave the penalty area in case they miss out on a chance to score.


Derevo (tree): A technically inadequate player – typically used for someone that’s tall and doesn’t move around much.


Otresti ga kao slinu (to shake someone off like saliva): Used when a player dominates an opponent.

South Korea

Ddong-ball (poop ball): A term used for a bad pass, shot or clearance.


Cagómetro (crapping-yourself-ometer): When your team is under extreme pressure.

Pintalo de amarillo (paint him yellow): When a player calls on the referee to hand out a yellow card.

Tuercebotas (twisted boots): A player with 2 left feet.


Do You Speak Football?: A Glossary Of Football Words And Phrases From Around The World – Tom Williams, Bloomsbury Sport, 2018

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