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2022 World Cup Language Podcast: Day 7 – Trademark Magic (Argentina v Mexico)

This World Cup language podcast looks back at day 7 of the tournament and specifically at the moment of magic from Leo Messi as he helped Argentina to an all-important 2-0 win over Mexico. We look at a description of the goal from a BBC report and explain the words: ‘trademark magic‘; ‘keeps hopes alive‘ and ‘tense encounter‘. You can read the transcript for this podcast below, while you can also check out our 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

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2022 World Cup Language Podcast: Day 7 – Trademark Magic (Argentina v Mexico)

DF: Hello again everyone and welcome to – the football-language podcast for learners and teachers of English. I’m Damian and I am in a wet and windy London and this is day 7 of the Qatar World Cup and today I’m going to look at some of the language that described Argentina’s opening goal by Leo Messi in their crucial 2-0 win over Mexico in their Group C match. In particular, I’ll be looking at the phrases, ‘trademark magic‘; ‘keeps hopes alive‘ and ‘tense encounter  which were all used in the BBC report of the game.

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Day 7 – Trademark Magi/Keep Hopes Alive/Tense Encounter

Lionel Messi produced a moment of trademark magic to help keep Argentina’s World Cup hopes alive with victory in a tense encounter against Mexico. (, November 26 2022)
The BBC report focused on Leo Messi’s goal as it was such an important one – remember, that a defeat would have seen the much-fancied Argentinian side eliminated from the tournament so the stakes were very high. The game was a tight one with very little space for ether team but then in the second half Leo Messi collected the ball and hit a low shot into the corner of the net – it was a wonderful moment of skill, technique and accuracy. The BBC report suggested that Messi ‘produced a moment of trademark magic‘ which means that the goal was a wonderful one and that this is something that Messi does on a regular basis. The word trademark is used in business to protect a company’s property – it is a symbol to say that the company owns this idea or product but the word trademark also has the meaning of describing something particular or typical about a person; we can easily notice or know that it is someone by their clothes, their language or their style. In football we often hear about a trademark goal which means that the player has scored this type of goal many times before. For example, former Dutch international winger Arjen Robben would cut inside from the right and shoot with his left – this was his trademark goal. A big centre forward might score lots of goals with their head so we would describe a headed goal from them as a trademark goal; a trademark header. So, in football a trademark something – for example, a trademark tackle or a trademark pass is something typical from a player. But in this report Messi is described as producing trademark magic which means that he constantly produces pieces of footballing magic – he is so good that the magical moments of football are now typical or common for him.

The next part of the sentence uses the phrase ‘to keep their hopes alive‘. Now, this is not just a football expression but we use it to describe when a team is facing defeat or maybe a relegation or in this example, elimination from the World Cup. Remember that Argentina would have been knocked out of the tournament if they had lost so the goal from Messi helped to keep them ‘alive’ which means to be still in the competition. The final part of the sentence refers to the type of game it was – a tense encounter. Encounter is another way of describing a match or game or tie between two teams: a fiery encounter would be a game between two very aggressive teams while a tense encounter is a match where both teams are worried about losing and so there are lots of errors and nerves which is what happened in this game.

So if we want to re-write the original phrase of ‘Lionel Messi produced a moment of trademark magic to help keep Argentina’s World Cup hopes alive with victory in a tense encounter against Mexico‘, maybe we could say something like: Thanks to Messi’s typical brilliance, Argentina defeated Mexico in a tense match.

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DB: Yes, you are listening to languagecaster and that message was from a Denmark supporter. It would be great to hear from anyone else who might like to share the message, ‘you are listening to‘. Don’t forget there’s a transcript to this short podcast and there’s lots of vocabulary support which you can access by coming along to our site. We think it’s a great resource for those learning and teaching the language.

OK, that’s it for this podcast in which we look back at some World Cup football language from the Argentina vs Mexico match and we looked at the phrases, ‘trademark magic‘; ‘keeps hopes alive‘ and ‘tense encounter‘. Do you know of any other players who have a trademark goal or performance in them? Can you think of a match that was a tense encounter? We’ll be back with some more World Cup football language tomorrow. Enjoy all the football and we’ll see you then. Bye bye!

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