All to play for

This phrase is used when there is still a lot of issues to be decided in football. For example, both teams have a chance of winning a match or there is an exciting finish to a game or the league because it is so close. It is often used before an important match such as a final as both teams battle for the title.

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  • Example: When Chelsea beat Manchester United with only 4 games remaining it was all to play for as there were only three points between the teams.
  • Example: It was all to play for on the final day of the Spanish season with three teams in with a chance of winning the title
  • Example: Pulisic gives Chelsea an edge but it’s all to play for (Belfast Telegraph, April 2021)

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 contact us at

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  • I sometimes commentator use the verb “link” or “link up” and the noun “link” or “link-up” as in smart link , good link up. What does it mean?

    Yet again, Shaw links well with Rashford and rushes to the byline.

    Son wins a corner after good link-up with Kane.

    • Hi Dwi,

      To link up means to connect with to exchange passes with. So, Shaw and Rashford exchange passes.



Learn English Through FootballWelcome to the website that helps students interested in football improve their English language skills. Football fans can practise with lots of free language resources, including football-language podcasts and our huge football-language glossary.

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