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Football Cliche: Take the Game by the Scruff of the Neck

(to) Take the game by the scruff of the neck. 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. If you have any suggestions or questions then you can contact us at admin@languagecaster.com

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Today’s English for football expression is take the game by the scruff of the neck. Now, what this expression means is to change the destiny of the game, to control the game, to dominate the game, to turn the game around. Particularly when your team is losing or not playing very well one of your players steps up and changes the game by playing very, very well, by tackling hard, by scoring a goal or making an assist. So for example, in the Champions League Final of two years ago when AC Milan were leading Liverpool by three goals to nil, Steven Gerrard took the game by the scruff of the neck and helped the Reds come back to eventually win the final on penalties. To take the game by the scruff of the neck.

  • Example: The team was losing by two goal with only 20 minutes remaining until the captain took the game by the scruff of the neck and scored twice before the final whistle.
  • Example: Matt Doherty: Ireland need to ‘take the game by the scruff of the neck’ in Slovakia (Irish Times, October 7 2020)
Learn English Through Football
Learn English Through Football
Learn English Through Football

Welcome to the website that helps students interested in football improve their English language skills. Soccer fans can enhance these skills with lots of free language resources: a weekly podcast, football phrases, explanations of football vocabulary, football cliches, worksheets, quizzes and much more at languagecaster.com.

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