Inspired by classic park football shouts such as "goal-hanger", "rush-goalie" and "jumpers for goal-posts", we've got a mighty list of football terms and phrases.

If you've got any other good ones that we've not listed then please feel free to email them in to us...

List of Phrases from the World of Football

12th Man

A club's supporters, implying that, like the 11 players, they can have also role in the outcome of a match by backing the team with some top support.

One of footballs most famous 12th man, is La Doce ("the 12"), the nickname given to a group of supporters who follow Boca Juniors. Other clubs also relate to the term by retiring shirt number 12 from their squad listings, in honour of their fans.

The term is also sometimes used to refer to a biased referee, as if he's on the side of one particular team.

Bench Warmer

A bench warmer is a player who is normally selected as a reserve or substitute, and doesn't get brought on much either, spending most of the 90 minutes sat on the bench watching the game, keeping it nice and warm for his team-mates.


Means 'Cup' in Spanish and Portuguese. The most famous Copas are the Copa del Rey (the main Spanish cup competition, meaning the King's Cup), the Copa América (the South American championship tournament, meaning America Cup), and the Copa Libertadores (the South American equivalent of the Champions League, which translates as the Liberators Cup).


If you've read about Copa then you won't be surprised to find out this means Cup in Italian. The Coppa Italia is the main cup competition.

Crossbar Challenge

Crossbar Challenge is a game that can be played anywhere, anytime and with anybody, as long as you have at least one football goal (and a ball, obviously!).

The object of the game is to try and hit the crossbar as many times in a certain amount of shots, who ever hits the crossbar the most amount of times wins, simple.

Cruyff Turn

Classic skill from the Dutch legend. See the Cruyff Turn section for full details.

The Double

When a club wins the league and cup in the same season, it's known as "doing the double".

Flip Flap

Classic skill perfected by the likes of Rivelinho and Ronaldinho. See the Flip Flap section for full details.

Goal Hanger

A player who does little more than hang around the goal-mouth, waiting to grab the glory with a tap-in. Unlikely to score a 30 yard screamer because more often than not they'll never be that distance from the goal.

Golden Goal

A goal scored during extra-time of a football match that ends the match immediately, with the team who scored it winning the match. The two most famous Golden Goals were in the finals of the 1996 and 2000 European Championships, resulting in scenes of wild celebration for Germany and France, and utter despair for the Czech Republic and Italy.

See Next Goal Wins for a commonly used, if highly unfair, type of sudden-death goal.

Group of Death

The name given to the hardest group at a major international football tournament. The phrase is first thought to have been used by local journalists at the 1970 World Cup in Mexico, who referred to Group 3 as "Grupo de la Muerte" to describe the collection of England (the reigning World Cup champions), Brazil (the pre-tournament favourites), Czechoslovakia (runners-up in 1962) and Romania.

See our list of the European Championships Groups of Death from all of the previous Euro tournaments.

Jumpers for Goal-Posts

Term used when playing park football and there are no physical goals, so jumpers are placed on the ground to represent goal posts. With hooded-tops now proving popular amongst kids, it begs the question, do kids nowadays use the term "Hoodies for Goal-Posts" ? We hope not.


The Knuckleball is Ronaldo's signature free-kick. The name is taken from Baseball as the aim is the same - to try and minimize the spin of the ball in flight, thereby causing an erratic, unpredictable motion of the ball through the air.

La Doce

Translating as "the 12", it's used as a nickname for Boca Juniors supporters as the club's 12th man.


Translates as 'World' in Spanish, so Copa Mundial means World Cup. Copa Mundial is also the name given by Adidas to its classic football boots from the late 70s, still going strong today.

Next Goal Wins

The classic sudden-death shout in a park football match. The game doesn't have to be close, one team can be leading 7:4 when "Next goal wins!" is called, leading to heated exchanges after the match if the team who were losing at that point go on to grab the final goal.

Perfect Hat Trick

When a player scores three goals in one match - one with his right foot, one with his left foot, and one with his head.


German for 'Cup'. So the DFB-Pokal means German Football Association Cup.

Rush Goalie

Used in kids playground or park football matches. Having a Rush Goalie means that the keeper can actually come off his line and get involved in the outfield play, getting as far up field as he wants before sprinting back onto his goal line when the other team gets the ball.


One of the first skills any budding young footballer will be taught by their coach. See the Scissors section for full details.


Another classic skill that all young footballers should have in their armoury. See the Stepover section for full details.

Thunder Bastard

A really powerful shot.


Italian term for fans. You might here it used for other big Italian sporting events as well, such as the Italian F1 Grand Prix, and the Giro d'Italia cycling race.

Top Bins

You'll hear the term "Top bins!" shouted when someone strikes the ball right into the top corner of the goal, making the shot look like a thing of genuine beauty. And if you haven't heard it said before, then where've you been ?