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!)

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  • Carlos Eduardo

    The name of the Brazilian soccer player who got a yellow card was not Gustavo. It was Thiago Silva.

    • Jack Askew

      Thanks for the correction Carlos. I’ll change that now.

      • Carlos Eduardo

        Thanks for your lessons. This one is specially good, because here in Brazil people love soccer, and sometimes people ask me how to say these words in english. Thanks. Brazil lost 7-1…….Oh my God…!!!!!! What happened..???? :-)

  • Oi

    The ultimate guide to footy vocab…I’m gonna avta rain on your parade, cos it just ain’t.
    My favourite moment of the World Cup was Tim Cahill’s goal for Australia against The Netherlands (I’m told that Holland is only a part of that country). What a volley!

  • Alaa

    I hopped to enjoyed that World cup ,but unfortunately it was final exams time .. just I watched the final between Germany and Argentina , in which Germany beat Argentina 1-0 in additional time according to what I remembered .. I was Germany fan in that match because I think they deserve it .. and I am Madridista :) lol ..