Football Language: (to) Go Toe to Toe with

Toe to Toe – another footballing phrase borrowed from the sport of boxing. this post explains what it means and when to use it.Toe to Toe

  • Find out more about this phrase by reading the transcript below.
  • You can also find many more examples of soccer vocabulary by going to our football cliches page here and our huge football glossary here.

Go toe to toe

The phrase to go toe to toe with someone is from boxing. It means to attack your opponent when they attack you, to not retreat and defend, but to keep on punching when you are being punched. To go toe to toe with another team means that both teams plan to attack, both teams think that their strong point is going forward. Neither team will focus on defence. A game when the teams go toe to toe with each other is very exciting to watch and usually has a lot of goals or shots. It can also be used with ‘against’ and also with hyphens – go toe-to-toe against‘.

Example: Mane’s earlier shift to the right and rapier-like shot exposed an Arsenal team trying to go toe-to-toe with Liverpool. (The Anfield Wrap)

Example: West Brom boss Tony Pulis is proud of his side after the 2-2 draw at Chelsea, saying his players went “toe-to-toe” against the champions. (BBC)

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I was born and brought up near Chester in the north west of England. I have always loved playing and talking about sport, especially football!
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