Football Vocabulary for English Learners

The World Cup Summarized in 90 Seconds and the Ultimate Guide to Football Vocabulary

Well, that was fun. The 2014 finished with Germany crowned champions of the world. And personally, I enjoyed every minute of the competition.

The Guardian newspaper has put together an incredible 90 second video that summarizes the World Cup, and I have broken this video into different sections so that you can learn vocabulary associated with football.

Hope you enjoy it:

(the material above and the pictures below are taken from the Guardian for educational purposes)

Wait in the Tunnel

Waiting in the Tunnel

Before the game, the two teams wait in the tunnel with the mascots and the referees. I imagine everyone is very nervous at this point.

Sing National Anthems

Singing National Anthems

After the presentations, both teams sing their national anthem.

Pose for the Cameras

Posing for Photos

Both teams huddle together and then pose for photos.

The World Cup Ball

The World Cup Ball
The video then showed many different pictures of the special World Cup ball. The players have said that the ball was much better than the one used in 2010.

Kick Off

Kick off English
When the referee blows his whistle, one of the teams start the game. This is called “kick off.” Traditionally, games in England kick off at 3PM on Saturdays.


We then see lots of pictures of players dribbling past other players. To run with the ball at your feet is to dribble. Messi (pictured) is one of the best dribblers in the world.

Take a Shot

We can see the French player above taking a shot. We can also use the verb shoot.

Make a Save

Make a Save
Joe Hart of England makes a save against Uruguay. Tim Howard made a record 16 saves in the game against Belgium. If a save is particular good, you can say, “What a save!”

Take a Throw In

Throw In
Here you can see Marcelo taking a throw in.

Biting and Bans

Unfortunately, there was also some foul play at the World Cup. Here is Luis Suarez just after he bit Chillieni. Suarez was banned for fours months for this.

Make a Tackle

Here you can see the German player making a tackle / tackling. If the tackle is very good, you can say, “What a tackle!”



Injuries happen in football because it is a contact sport. Although players sometimes fake it, the guy above looks injured. Neymar got injured in the game against Colombia and had to miss the rest of the World Cup.

Yellow Cards

Yellow Cards

If a player makes a bad foul or says something bad to the referee, then they might get a yellow card. Here you can see Thiago Silva from Brazil getting a yellow card, and because he had more than one during the competition, he had to miss the next game.

Red Cards

Red Cards

If a player gets a red card, it means that they have to leave the pitch immediately. Here you can see the referee showing William Palacios of Honduras a red card in their game against France.

Stretchered Off


In the match against Colombia, Neymar got so badly injured that he had to be stretchered off.

Score Goals

Scoring Goals

Here you can see James Rodriguez of Colombia scoring against Uruguay. Rodriguez was the top scorer at this World Cup, scoring a total of six goals.

Players Celebrating

Players Celebrating

Here is Arjen Robben celebrating. After scoring a goal, all players celebrate in their own way.

Fans Celebrating

Fans Celebrating

Fans also celebrate after goals and victories.



But when one team celebrates, the other team is disappointed. Here is one Brazilian fan during the 7-1 defeat to Germany.

Winners and Losers

Winners and Losers

The picture above was taken after Germany beat Brazil 7-1. Here are different ways to say this:

  • Brazil lost 7-1.
  • Germany won 7-1.
  • Brazil lost to Germany 7-1.
  • Germany beat Brazil 7-1.

(Sorry Brazil fans.)

Lifting the Trophy

Lifting the Trophy

Here you can see the Germany captain, Philip Lahm, lifting the World Cup trophy.

Quick Test

Complete the following sentences:


1. Both teams sing their _____________ before the game.

2. The teams ___________ for photographs.

3. Messi is one of the best __________ in the world.

4. You need to _________ to score.

5. Tim Howard _________ lots of saves in the World Cup.

6. Marcelo usually __________ the throw ins for Brazil.

7. Suarez ___________ for four months for biting an opponent.

8. Neymar had to be stretchered __________.

9. James Rodriguez __________ six goals.

10. Germany ________ Brazil 7-1.


1. national anthems

2. pose

3. dribblers

4. shoot

5. made

6. takes

7. was banned

8. off

9. scored

10. beat

Time for a Discussion

Did you enjoy the World Cup? If so, what was your favourite moment? Leave your comments below!

(My favourite moment was when Daniel Sturridge scored against Italy. But being an England fan, that was about it!)

Should Have in English

World Cup English: He Should Have Saved It

Should Have in English

Everyone makes mistakes. In fact, as English learners, I imagine that you are aware that you constantly make mistakes with your English (which is okay if you learn from them).

But sometimes a mistake can be shown millions of times on Youtube. And that is exactly what happened to Russia’s goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev.

During the game against South Korea, the goalkeeper made a mistake which led to a goal. Here is the video:

(Igor, if you are watching this, I’m sorry for highlighting your mistake. But at least it is helping others learn English!)

Using Should Have for past expectations

What can we say about this? Well, the first thing to note is that he should have saved it. In fact, he should have easily saved it.

We expect the goalkeeper to save shots like that one. But he didn’t. And we use the construction should have + past participle to explain this. We use this construction when something that we expected to happen, didn’t happen. Here are more examples:

  • I’m a little worried. My brother should have arrived over two hours ago.
  • You shouldn’t have had any problems (with the computer). It worked perfectly for me.

Using Should Have for past advice

We also use should have when we’re talking about advisable actions in the past (actions that didn’t happen). For example, let’s say that you took an exam today and failed. You feel terrible, but know that you didn’t study hard enough. Your friends, if they are honest, will say:

“You should have studied harder.”

This is advice for the past. Here are more examples:

  • I shouldn’t have eaten all those biscuits. I feel terrible now.
  • Messi should have passed the ball, there were other players in better positions.
  • He really shouldn’t have said that. I think he’ll regret it.

Over to You

Watch the following video, and then I want you to answer the question.

Question: Should the Spanish goalkeeper have done better? If so, what should he have done instead of punching the ball.

Question for those who don’t like football: Is there something that you should have done yesterday but didn’t do?

Example: I should have called my accountant, but I felt too lazy to do it.

Leave your answers below!

World Cup English Hope WIse

World Cup English: I Hope England Win (Hope vs Wish)

World Cup English Hope WIse

Alright everyone, we’re at post number three in our World Cup series, and today we’re going to look at a common mistake that I hear being made all the time.

But first, if you are new here, then join my mailing list (you can do so by clicking here). As well as receiving free updates and advice, you’ll also get a free book!

My wife and I were talking about the World Cup yesterday. Now, like many people who aren’t interested in football, she gets excited about the World Cup. During our discussion, here is something that I said:

“I don’t think we will, but I hope England win on Saturday.”

This is quite similar to saying, “I want England to win on Saturday.” But notice that I didn’t use wish? That is because hope is used when talking about a specific situation and when you want a desired outcome (real), while wish is used when we want a change of circumstance (unreal).

Hope is mainly used for future events, while wish is used for current or past circumstances.

Going back to the example, my desired outcome is that England win on Saturday (specific situation in the future = the game that they are going to play). I hope that makes sense!

Examples of Wish and Hope

Here are some more examples of hope and wish. Try to notice the difference:

  • I hope Daniel Sturridge plays for England tomorrow (real situation in the future).
  • I wish I was playing in this World Cup (imaginary – wanting a change of circumstance).

Do you see the difference? A lot of people use wish instead of hope when talking about real situations, but this is incorrect. Here are more examples of these two words in everyday English:

  • I hope it doesn’t rain tomorrow (desired outcome for a specific time in the future)
  • I wish it wasn’t raining (it is raining now, but I wish it wasn’t).
  • They hope to go on vacation this year.
  • I wish we were on vacation now.
  • He hopes to become CEO one day.
  • He wishes he were CEO (now).

Also, look at the following two examples of hope:

  • I hope to go to California next year.
  • I hope I go to California next year.

Both mean the same thing. This is when we’re talking about ourselves. But when we’re talking about someone/something else, we can’t use the infinitive:

  • I hope he to go (incorrect).
  • I hope he goes (correct).

Over to You

For a full description of the difference between hope and wish, click here.

Instead of questions this week, I want you to complete the following sentences:

1. I hope  ___________ next year.

2. I wish I had more…

My two answers are: I hope to go to California next year; I wish I had more time to make new videos on Youtube.

Leave your answers below. Thanks for reading!

[UPDATE: The comment system is working again. If you posted a comment before, please try again]

Who Will Win the World Cup: English Lesson

World Cup English: Who Do You Think Will Win the World Cup?

Who Will Win the World Cup: English Lesson

Do you like making predictions about the future? Are you usually right? Well in this post, you will have the opportunity to tell us who you think will win the World Cup 2014.

In the last post, I explained how in American English the sport is called soccer while in British English it is called football. I asked for your preference and the voting has ended. Here are the results…

Readers of JDA English prefer to call it FOOTBALL! And that is what I’m going to call it from now on this site.

(I had one commenter who said that there should be a universal word for it: “Footsoc.” ) 

Who Will Win?

So, the BIG question that everyone is talking about is: Who will win the World Cup?

I have my own opinion (which will be revealed later!). But I asked my friend from the UK who he thinks will win. This is what he said:

“It’s not an easy prediction. But firstly, I don’t think England can win. Maybe if they get lucky, they can reach the semi-finals, but expectations are really low this year.

I think the two strongest teams are going to be Brazil and Germany. Brazil have the advantage of playing at home, and Germany’s young players have improved a lot.

But you should never rule out Spain. And to give you an answer, I think Brazil will win it.”

So, my friend thinks Brazil will win! Do you?

Making Predictions

Okay, now it’s time to look at what my friend said. Did you notice that he used both will and going to with his predictions?:

  • I think the two strongest teams are going to be Brazil and Germany.
  • I think Brazil will win.

When making predictions, we can use both going to and will. Most of the time, there isn’t a big difference:

  • I think Spain will beat Australia.
  • I think Spain are going to beat Australia.

You can leave out the I think from your predictions (it’s a little stronger this way):

  • Spain will beat Australia.
  • Spain are going to beat Australia.

(You can make this even stronger by saying “Spain will definitely beat Australia” – and make sure to STRESS the word definitely.)

But, There Are Times When We Can ONLY Use Going to

Going to be sick

She is going to be sick!

There are situations when you can only use going to when making predictions. To help me explain this… imagine that before the game starts you say, “I think Spain will beat Australia.

… Now imagine that you are sitting on your sofa and eating popcorn (everyone loves popcorn, right?). The game between Spain and Australia has just started.

You notice that Australia look strong, fast, and skillful and your opinion changes a little:

  • This is going to be difficult for Spain.
  • Spain are going to struggle here.
  • Australia are going to score a goal soon.
  • Spain are going to get tired later.

In all of these cases going to was used. This is because: When you are basing your opinion on something you see (you see that Australia are better than you thought), then you have to use going to. You CAN’T use will in this situation.

You also have to use going to when you base your opinion on something you taste, hear, feel etc.

  • Look at those crazy black clouds! It’s going to rain soon.
  • I feel terrible. I think I’m going to be sick….

Other Notes on Making Predictions (and Giving Opinions)

“You should never rule out Spain”

My friend doesn’t think that Spain are the favourites. But he is saying that they are strong and have the potential to win it.

“I don’t think England will win. Maybe if they get lucky, they can reach the semi-finals.”

My friend is using a conditional here to explain a possible outcome. He uses can to show ability (England have the potential do reach the semi-finals).

The conditional shows that they only have the potential to reach the semi-finals IF they are lucky. (He’s not very confident about England, is he?)

We can use will instead of can. This makes it stronger. Here are two examples to show this difference:

  • If Diego Costa plays, Spain will win. (Here the prediction is stronger, but Spain winning depends on their best striker being able to play).
  • If Diego Costa plays, Spain can win. (Spain have the possibility of winning if their best striker is able to play).

Do you see the difference between using can and will in the first conditional?

Over to You

So, now it’s time to make two predictions:

1. Who do you think will win the World Cup?

2. How do you think your team will do?

Here are my answers: I think that Argentina are going to win it, but it wouldn’t surprise me if Spain do it again. As for England, I don’t think we’ll get out of the group stages!

Leave YOUR answers below.

Football vs Soccer (English lesson)

World Cup English: Football or Soccer?

Football vs Soccer (English lesson) The Football World Cup 2014 is just around the corner and JDA English is pleased to announce a series of posts that will help you learn English through this sporting event. And we’re going to start by highlighting a big difference between British and American English.

Football or Soccer?

Football or Soccer

Do you call it football or soccer?

As you already know, there are many differences between British and American English (and also English from Ireland, Australia etc., but we’re going to focus on British and American), and I would argue that one of the biggest differences in terms of vocabulary is football (BrE) vs soccer (AmE).

Generally speaking, British people hate it when football is called soccer. I think this is because football is the most popular sport in the UK and it was invented there.

I’m originally from the UK but now live in the US. People here are aware that they are one of only a few nations that call it soccer, and football to people here is American football.

Interestingly, the word soccer originally came from the UK. It used to be called association football, and people took the the SOC from association and added ‘er’ to make socer (or soccer). The difference between these words can cause problems. Here are typical conversations I have with Brits and Americans:

With My Friends from the UK (Conversation One)

Me: I’m playing a lot of football at the moment.
Friend: Don’t you mean, “Soccer” now you live in the US?

With My Friends from the UK (Conversation Two)

Me: I’m playing a lot of soccer at the moment.
Friend: It’s not soccer, it’s football!

With People I Meet in the US (Conversation One)

Me: So yeah, I play a lot of soccer here.
American: Don’t you mean, “football?” Isn’t that what you guys call it?

With People I Meet in the US (Conversation Two)

Me: So yeah, I play a lot of football here.
American: Football or soccer? Because football means something different here.

It gets very frustrating. I think there needs to be a universal word for football/soccer!



If something is just around the corner, it means that it is starting soon. It is mainly used for events.

  • My vacations are just around the corner!
  • The start of school is just around the corner.


This is a more formal way to say, “I think..” and it is often used during discussions and especially in essays.


To be aware of something means that you have knowledge of something; it is something that you know.

  • He wasn’t aware that the word soccer originated from the UK.
  • They’re aware that they make lots of mistakes, they just can’t help it.


I now have some questions for you:

1. Do you prefer to call it football or soccer?

2. What’s the most popular sport in your country?

3. Are you going to watch the World Cup 2014?

Leave your answers below.