Today’s football phrase is ‘Blaze over the bar’. Find out more about this phrase by reading the transcript below, while you can also find many more examples of soccer vocabulary by going to our football cliches page here and our huge football glossary here.

Blaze (the ball) over the bar

When a player misses a chance to score by shooting high over the goal or net we sometimes say that he or she has blazed over the bar. This phrase suggests that there was little or no control to the shot and that the ball was probably still rising when it went over the bar. The player blazed over from close range suggests that the player should have scored but instead hit the shot too high and probably too hard. You will sometimes hear the shortened form ‘blazed over‘ as it is understood that the ball went over the bar. Blaze over the bar.

  • Example: The forward blazed over when put clean through.
  • Example: The player blazed the ball over the bar when it seemed easier to score.

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Learn English Through Football
Learn English Through Football

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  • Dear LanguageCaster,

    First of all, congratulations on this webiste. I am learning a lot of terms that I had never heard before.

    Regarding your entry “to blaze over the bar”, I casually decided to put an English friend of mine to the test, to see how well up she was in football terminology. I must say she is very passionate about the beautiful game and supports Liverpool FC. She said she has never heard this idiom and claims that it might be an Americanism. In the UK, phrases like “to sky the ball over the bar” or “the ball soar over the bar” are more widely used.

    Please kindly shed some light on this if you find the time, as I am intrigued now.
    Many thanks in advance.

    Domingo Alvarez

    • Hi Domingo,

      Thank you for your kind words! It’s good to hear that you can learn a few new footballing phrases!

      As for ‘blaze over’, we’re pretty sure that it is not an Americanism. Here’s an example from a 2003 BBC report (a time when football/soccer in the States was not as popular as now):

      In fact, the home side should have finished things off when Rio Ferdinand was presented with a far-post gift, only for the England defender to blaze over the bar.

      And from the Guardian in 2009:

      28 min: PENALTY TO LIVERPOOL – AND A GOAL!!! Chelsea 0-2 Liverpool.
      Aurelio swings in another free kick from whence he scored a few minutes ago. The ball’s sent towards the far post and finds Skrtel four yards out – and free! Amazingly, he blazes over – but screams in joy as the referee awards a penalty! Ivanovic has hauled down Alonso in the melee – and the midfielder steps up and slams the spot kick high into the left-hand side of the net. Bloody hell. Nobody expected this.

      ‘To sky over the bar’, meaning the same, is of course also used! Good to hear that your friend is a Liverpool fan – I hope she’s enjoying the start to the season. And hope about you? Which is your team?


BEpisode 52