Football Language Euros 2020: Day 2 – Pounce on a mistake and composed finish

In this football language podcast we look back at the second day of the 2020 European Championships and explain some of the phrases from the BBC report on the Belgium win over Russia yesterday and in particular we look at the phrases ‘pounce on a mistake‘ and ‘composed finish‘. You can read a 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 admin@languagecaster.com.

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Football Language Podcast Euros 2020: Day 2 – Pounce on a mistake and Composed finish

DF: Hello everyone, this is Damian from the Learning English Through Football team – I hope you are all doing well. Now we are going to focus on the Belgium versus Russia game from day two of the European Championships and will look at some of the phrases used by the BBC report and in particular the phrases pounce on a mistake and composed finish. In the first example the writer mentions that Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku ‘celebrated his goal by shouting “Chris, Chris, I love you” in front of a television camera’ which of course is a reference to Lukaku’s Inter Milan team mate and Danish international Christian Eriksen who collapsed on the pitch in the Denmark versus Finland game earlier in the day. Thankfully Eriksen appears to be recovering but it was an horrific time for him, his family, his team mates and football fans everywhere and we wish him all the best in his recovery.

Stinger: You are listening to languagecaster.com (in Polish).

DF: OK, we’ll be posting a football expression from the Euros every day during the tournament. Yesterday Damon looked at the expressions ‘lay down a marker‘, ‘acres of space‘ and ‘ticking over‘ from the opening game between Italy and Turkey in Rome – and today I’m going to look at two expressions from the BBC report on the Belgium versus Russia match. Here’s how the BBC described the opening goal of the game.

Lukaku opened the scoring after pouncing on a mistake by Andrey Semenov and celebrated his goal by shouting “Chris, Chris, I love you” in front of a television camera. (BBC.co.uk June 12 2021)
So, the Belgian striker ‘opened the scoring‘ after ten minutes which means he scored the first goal of the game. We have already heard the phrase ‘opening match‘ when describing the Italy-Turkey game (this is the first match of a competition) and you will also hear ‘opening goal‘ – the first goal of the game; ‘opening fixture‘ – the first game that a side plays in a competition and we can also say that Romelu Lukaku ‘opened his account‘ which means he scored his first goal of the tournament.

The writer also describes how Lukaku scored his goal – he pounced on a mistake by the goalkeeper which means that he quickly, really quickly, reacted to the mistake before anyone else. To pounce on something means to rapidly attack something and this is what Lukaku did in the Russian penalty box – he pounced on a loose ball and scored.

In-form Lukaku sealed a comfortable win by scoring his team’s third goal with a composed finish in the closing stages. (BBC.co.uk June 12 2021)
In the second example, the writer first of all uses the phrase ‘in-form‘ to describe the striker which means that Lukaku is currently playing really well – you might sometimes hear the phrases ‘in-form striker‘ or the opposite ‘out-of-form striker‘. This third goal from Lukaku sealed the win which means he made sure that Belgium would run out winners and collect the three points. His second goal – remember that two goals in football is sometimes called a brace – was a composed finish. Now to finish means to score a goal – the player finished well means the player scored a good goal – and a composed finish means a thoughtful finish, a finish that was never really in doubt – the player showed calmness before finishing.

Stinger: You are listening to languagecaster.com (in Dutch).

Good Bye

DF: Don’t forget that there’s a transcript to this podcast and lots of vocabulary support which you can access by coming along to our site. Remember that you can follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or you can drop us a line at: admin@languagecaster.com.

OK, that’s it for this short podcast – we hope you have enjoyed our look back at some of the words and phrases from day two of the 2020 European Championships and we’ll be back with more tomorrow. Don’t forget you can also come along and play in our predictions competition, vote in our Euro 2020 poll and find lots of football language on our site here at languagecaster.com. Enjoy all the football this weekend and we’ll see you again soon. Bye bye.

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