In this football language post we explain the word ‘blunder‘ which is often used to describe a goalkeeper’s performance. Can you guess the meaning of this word? 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: Blunder

If a player makes a mistake on the pitch then their team may lose possession or it may lead to a dangerous situation or even a goal against their own team. When a goalkeeper makes a mistake there is a higher chance of a goal being conceded as they are closer to their own goal – they are the last line of defence. This means that a goalkeeping mistake is often highlighted a lot more and we have lots of words to describe these kinds of mistakes, such as gaffes, clanger, howler and the word ‘blunder‘. This word, which is not only related to football and can be used as a noun and a verb, is often used when a mistake costs a team a goal: A goalkeeping blunder or a defensive blunder are common phrases.

In recent FA Cup 5th round matches there were two high-profile goalkeeping blunders from Liverpool and Tottenham reserve keepers. Liverpool were beaten 2-0 by Chelsea with the first goal a definite goalkeeping blunder as Adrian let the ball slip through his hands into the net. In the second example, Tottenham’s Dutch keeper Michel Vorm parried the ball when a catch seemed simpler and the Norwich striker hit home the rebound. Spurs went on to lose on penalties in that match.

Example: Reading’s Adam Federici apologises for FA Cup blunder against Arsenal (The Guardian, 20 April 2015)

Example: Adrian blunder gifts Chelsea lead against Liverpool (, 3rd March 2020) Other examples of mistakes associated with goalkeepers include:

Check out our glossary of footballing phrases here. If you have any suggestions or questions, contact us at
Learn English Through Football
Learn English Through Football

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BEpisode 8