Football Language: Nailed On

nailed on

This post explains the noun phrase ‘nailed on‘. If you have questions or comments, please email us at:

  • You can also find many more examples of soccer vocabulary by going to our football cliches page here and our huge football glossary here.

Football Language: Nailed on

If something is nailed on, it is certain to happen, the outcome can be easily predicted. A nail is an object used in construction for securing parts together. If you nail something down or together, you make it secure. This feeling of security carries over to the phrase nailed on, so we say in football, for example, this game is a nailed on win – we are sure that our team will win; the result and prediction is safe. The phrase is also used a lot with penalty decisions, For example, we can say it was a nailed on penalty – a definite penalty.

Here is an example from a match report on Manchester United and Manchester City in The Telegraph: “Ashley Young should already have conceded a penalty in the first half for a handball, but his challenge on Sergio Aguero in the second half was not only a nailed-on penalty, but also a definite red card for the United player.

Check out our glossary of footballing phrases here If you have any suggestions, contact us at

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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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