English for Football Phrase: Week 37 – to press

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Each week we explain a soccer phrase or cliché on our weekly languagecaster podcast.You can find many more examples by going to our football clichés here.

  • Find out more about this phrase by reading the transcript below.
  • You can also find many more examples of soccer vocabulary by going to our football cliches page here and our huge football glossary here.

To press

This week’s English for football phrase is ‘to press‘. This phrase has two meanings in football. First, in attack, to press for a goal, or to press for a winner is one common way the phrase is used. It means that one team is trying very hard to score, they are using more players than usual to attack and may be taking a risk with their defence. The second way of using this phrase is in defence, to press the ball, or to press in midfield for example. This means that the defending team is quick to get close to the opposing team’s player when they have the ball. They press the player and hope they will force an error, they deny the player time to find a good pass. In the Europa League this week, Liverpool went behind to an early goal from Atletico Madrid and pressed for an equaliser but couldn’t score, while in the Champions League Inter pressed the ball in midfield effectively and Barcelona couldn’t play their natural passing game. Inter won the game 3-1 thanks to their pressing game.

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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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