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2022 World Cup Language Podcast Day 13: Flick On (Serbia vs Switzerland)

In this World Cup language podcast we look at a football phrase from Day 13 – (to) flick on from the Serbia versus Switzerland match. You can read the transcript for this podcast below, and make sure visit our huge glossary of footballing phrases here and visit our site to access all our previous posts and podcasts. If you have any suggestions or questions then you can contact us at (DB=Damon)

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2022 World Cup Language Podcast Day 13: Flick On (Serbia vs Switzerland)

DB: Hi there everyone. Welcome to, which is THE football-language podcast for learners and teachers of English. I’m Damon and I’m based in Tokyo and, along with Damian in London, I’ve been watching the World Cup matches and looking at some of the key words from the games.

The group stages were great, with shocks, great goals and lots of talking points. In the last World Cup phrase of the day podcast, for example, we looked at Japan’s stunning win over Spain and the phrases ‘to cut back’ and to bundle home‘. On today’s show, too, we look at a verb phrase, to flick on.

Stinger: You are listening to (in French)

DB: Yes, you are listening to languagecaster and that message was in French. OK, as I said, we’ll look at the phrase ‘to flick on‘ today, and this is from the match between Serbia and Switzerland. What a game! A classic see-saw game, with first Switzerland going 1-0 up, then Serbia hitting back with two goals, before the Swiss regained the lead, and victory, with two goals of their own.

The last goal the Swiss scored is where we get our phrase, and we’ll use this description from the BBC report on the game.

With Serbia needing to win, the second half promised further twists but it was Switzerland who struck next – Embolo coolly flicking it on for Nottingham Forest’s Remo Freuler to thump a half-volley into the net and make it 3-2 in their favour.

(to) Flick On

DB: So, we’ve got, ‘Embolo cooly flicking it on for Freuler.’ We could change this to ‘Embolo cooly passing to Freuler’ because to flick on basically means to pass.

But a flick on is not an ordinary pass, it is when the player has their back to who they want to pass to. They know their teammate is there, and when the ball comes, they touch it enough to move it past a defender to their teammate, like a deflection. So, the outside of the foot is usually used, but in this game, Embolo actually used his heel to deflect the ball, to flick it on to his teammate Freuler.

(to) Thump

So, Freuler received the flick on. We can use this phrase as a noun, too – a flick on. And, the report says, he thumped a half volley into the net. To thump a ball is to hit it really hard, like to smash a ball.

Embed from Getty Images

We also use ‘to thump a team‘ to mean to beat a team by a lot of goals. So, Spain thumped Costa Rica 7-0 in their first round game in Group E.

Stinger: You are listening to (from a Welsh fan)


And that message was in Welsh. So, to flick on, which is a clever, skilful pass, and to thump, a shot that is hit really hard or a big win over an opponent. The football language from one of the matches on Day 13.


DB: And that brings us to the end of this short football language podcast. Don’t forget there’s a transcript to the show and you can access it by coming along to our site, and you can also look out for us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram . We’ll be back soon with some more World Cup football language. Enjoy all the football. Ta-ra!

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I was born and brought up near Chester in the north west of England. I have always loved playing and talking about sport, especially football!
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