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FIFA World Cup - do you know these soccer terms?

Jun 14, 2018

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The 2018 FIFA World Cup is here, so we’re taking a look at some soccer terms to help you better understand the game.

First off, is it soccer or football? Well either really are fine. In Australia, football (or ‘footy’) can refer to a number of sports including Australian Rules Football (AFL), Rugby Union, Rugby League and soccer. Currently, soccer still seems to be the preferred use in Australia, but the fact that the peak body in Australia -- known as the Football Federation of Australia -- has adopted the term football for the sport, we may see a shift in usage.

The term soccer is also widely used in the US, as there, the word football is largely used to refer to American gridiron football. But, most of the rest of the world calls the sport football.

Goals are one of the most exciting parts of the game, because they are often few and far between. And sometimes, players don’t just kick the ball into the goal, they make it a bit fancy by scoring off a header or volley. What about on the field play? Well there is dribbling, passing and tackles. And of course free kicks, corner kicks and goal kicks.


Here are some of the more interesting terms for the game:


scorpion kick-a kick executed by leaning forward and bending one or both legs back over the body, using this manoeuvre to strike the ball with the foot or feet

a kick executed by leaning forward and bending one or both legs back over the body, using this manoeuvre to strike the ball with the foot or feet. This term comes from the resemblance of the shape of the body to that of the scorpion, the backwards bent leg forming the tail.

If you haven't seen former Colombian goalkeeper Rene Higuita’s amazing scorpion save, do yourself a favour and watch it now.

bicycle kick or scissor kick-a kick made by jumping into the air and employing a shearing motion with the legs to effect contact with the ball

a kick made by jumping into the air and employing a shearing motion with the legs to effect contact with the ball.

to pass or kick the ball between the legs of (a player on the opposing team) so as to pass it to another player or score a goal.

Truth time. I have only heard the shortened form ‘nutty’ and so always thought this referred to nut def 15. Colloquial a testicle. And while the term may refer back to this def (see the etymology), I now know it’s actually an abbreviation of the term nutmeg.

jockeying-No, this isn’t someone who professionally rides horses in races. It is a move where the defending player holds up the attacking player who has the ball, rather than going in for a tackle

No, this isn’t someone who professionally rides horses in races.

it is a move where the defending player holds up the attacking player who has the ball, rather than going in for a tackle, with the idea being to force an error and then get the ball.

Do you know any soccer/football terms that we missed? Tell us in the comments section below!

*The FIFA World Cup refers to the men’s soccer world cup, which is held every four years. There is also the FIFA Women’s World Cup of soccer which is also held every four years, in the year following the men’s world cup. The next Women’s World Cup will be in 2019.


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