Football Language: Misfiring
The adjective misfiring can be understood if you imagine an engine. The typical engine that runs most cars on the roads uses petrol, gasoline, which is ignited with a spark to produce gas which provides the power to move the engine parts. The petrol ‘fires‘ in the engine cylinder – literally it is set on fire. If something ‘fires‘ it moves, starts, and if an engine fires it starts running smoothly. Then, we add the suffix ‘mis‘, which makes many words in English negative or ‘wrong’ in someway, like ‘mistake’, ‘misuse’, misspell’ and so on. So if something misfires, it doesn’t move or start properly, the engine doesn’t work. In football, we use misfire to describe a team, player, or group of players playing badly, not working well. We can talk about a misfiring midfield or attack, a misfiring player, or even a misfiring team.
- Example: ‘Gareth Southgate’s misfiring England lose control in haunting defeat.’ Headline in The Guardian (12 October 2019)
- Example: ‘In attack, Suso and Rafael Leao should flank misfiring Krzysztof Piatek, who hopes to rediscover his scoring touch against his old club.’ From allfootballapp.com (5 Oct 2019).’