Open goal

In this football language post we explain the football cliche ‘to telegraph a pass‘ which is used when describing a bad pass thanks to a defender reading and intercepting it. Don’t forget we have hundreds more explanations of football language in our football glossary and we also have a page full of football cliches. If you have questions or comments about this or any other phrase then email us at:

Football Language: Telegraph a pass

If a player telegraphs a pass it means that their opponents can see what they intend to do and so can cut it out or block the pass. A telegraphed pass is a pass that is so obvious that the opposition can easily defend against it. To telegraph something is to communicate something so telegraphing the pass is to communicate to the other side what you are going to do so that they can intercept it.

Example: ‘The midfielder telegraphed the pass which meant the opposition broke on the counter attack

Related Vocabulary

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  • Thanks for the exlapanation. I want to ask you about the use of “would” you used. How does it work?

    …and so a ‘picturebook goal’ would be a beautiful goal.

    • Hi Sandra,

      The use of ‘would’ here is because we are imagining a situation. We are imagining if someone scored a beautiful goal and used the phrase ‘picture book goal’. When we do this, imagine, we use would.

      Hope that helps!

  • Hello. I want to ask you. I heard a commentator saying “picturebook goal”. What does “picturebook” mean in football?
    Thank you.

    • Thank you for the question. Well, if something is ‘picture book’ it suggests that it is something very beautiful – maybe almost perfect – and so a ‘picturebook goal’ would be a beautiful goal. Thanks again for the question.

Football ClichesEpisode 937