This short football language post looks at the word ‘opponent‘ which is a way of describing the team that you are playing against in a match. You can read the 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

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This is a member of the other team or the team you are playing against. An opponent is usually an individual player from the other team; so for example, we might hear the phrase ‘a tough opponent‘ which means that a player from the other team (the opposition) is a very good (and maybe physical) player. We can also hear the term ‘opponents‘ (the plural form) which refers to the other team as it is a group of players: e.g. ‘their opponents defended really well at the end of the game’. We might also hear this word (singular or plural) talking about the other team in a specific match or in general, so for example, Tottenham normally do not do well against opponents that sit deep.

  • Example: Argentina have always been a difficult opponent for England in the World Cup.
  • Example: Their opponents proved to be a tough team to defeat.
  • Example: …prior to the defeat at Liverpool they had won four on the bounce without conceding– but with the onus on them to find a way to unlock their opponents they had little to offer.
  • Example: …Watford left little space in behind their back four and outworked their opponents. ( December 2019)
  • Example: Wolves represent dangerous opponents in the season’s finale and Lampard will be warning his players that they cannot display the same flaws as they did here. ( July 2020)
  • Example: If you have a quality opponent like Tottenham and you don’t close the game they will come back. ( January 2020)



Football Language Glossary

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Learn English Through Football

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Football GlossaryEpisode 430