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 (BBC.co.uk, 3rd March 2020) Other examples of mistakes associated with goalkeepers include:
Free football language podcast for learners of English brought to you by Damian and Damon. Interviews, match reviews, predictions all with full language support for football fans around the world who wish to improve their English language skills.