Across the Face of Goal – Football Language Podcast – Euro 2020: Day 5

This football language podcast looks back at Day 5 of the 2020 European Championships. We discuss some phrases connected with Hummels’ own goal in Germany vs France. You can read a 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

Across the Face of Goal – Football Language Podcast – Euro 2020: Day 5

DB: You’re listening to’s football language Euro 2020 podcast. Hi everyone, this is Damon from the Learning English Through Football team. How are things with you? Well, I hope! Today, I’m looking back at Day 5 from Euro 2020. This was the group of death‘s turn and the there was a mouthwatering clash between Germany and France. I’ll be looking at some language from a description of the goal that decided that match. I’ll especially focus on – the face of goal, and to shin.

face of goalStinger: You are listening to (in Hungarian).

The Face of Goal

DB: Yes, you are listening to and that message was in Spanish. Right, let’s kick off and talk about Day 5’s football language, and a passage from a minute-by-minute report in the Guardian.

Let me read it first and then we can break it down and talk about some of the key phrases. Remember you can see a transcript, you can read the text, if you come along to

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So this is how the report describes France’s goal: “Pogba opened Germany up with a flipped crossfield pass to Hernandez on the left side of the area. He hammered the bouncing ball across the face of goal towards Mbappe, six yards out. Hummels got in front of Mbappe but couldn’t adjust his feet quickly enough and shinned it into the roof of his own net.”

First of all let’s talk about two passes that led to the own goal by Hummels. First Pogba opened Germany up, beat the defence, with a flipped crossfield pass. A flipped pass is not a common expression but a crossfield pass is. It means from one side of the pitch or field to the other, and that is what Pogba did, he flipped the play, reversed the play from right to left.

Then on the France’s left, Hernandez hammered a pass across the face of goal. Hammered means to hit really hard, and is usually used for a shot, but Hernandez’s cross was hit powerfully across the box, so the we can say it was hammered in or hammered across the box etc.

Across the Face of Goal

DB: The main phrase I would like to focus on is in this sentence – across the face of goal. The face of goal is the area in the six yard area just in front of the open net. We can also call this the corridor of uncertainty. Defenders and goalkeepers hate crosses across the face of goal, in the corridor of uncertainty, as they are difficult to stop.

The cross is just a bit too far for the goalkeeper to come – they are uncertain whether they can reach the ball. Likewise, the defender is often facing their own goal and may expect the goalkeeper to come as it is in the six yard area. Everyone is uncertain.

Shin the Ball

DB: This is where Hummels found himself. As the ball was hammered across the face of goal, he was in the corridor of uncertainty. He felt an attacker behind him, saw the goalkeeper stay on his line, and stuck out his foot to clock the cross. Unfortunately, the ball hit his shin, and he shinned the ball into the roof of the net. To shin is to try to kick the ball but miss it, so the ball hits the front of your lower leg – the shin.

Hummels has been criticised a bit for the own goal, but I think he needed to try and get to that ball. If he left it, it would be a tap in for Mbappe, and easy goal. He did his best but was unlucky he didn’t connect with the ball better.

Stinger: You are listening to (in Spanish).

DB: Yes, you are listening to and that message was in Spanish. So, a fairly evenly balanced game between Germany and France decided by a ball across the face of goal and a defender’s shinned clearance attempt.

That’s it for this short podcast. remember, you can also come along and play in our predictions competition, vote in our Euro 2020 poll and find lots of football language on our site here at Enjoy all the football. Ta-ra!

Learn English Through Football
Learn English Through Football

Free football language podcast for learners of English brought to you by Damian and Damon. Interviews, match reviews, predictions all with full language support for football fans around the world who wish to improve their English language skills.

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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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Euro 2020Episode 744