Football Language PodcastIn this short football language post we explain the expression ‘masterclass‘ and how it is used in football. Check out our football glossary  and  football cliches pages for hundreds more explanations of the language of soccer. If you have questions or comments about this or any other phrase then email us at:

Football Language: Masterclass

DF: Hello everyone, this is Damian from the Learning English Through Football team – we hope you are all well and in this short football language podcast we are going to look at the phrase ‘masterclass‘ and how it is used in football. Don’t forget that there is a transcript for this report which can be accessed from our site at

Stinger: You are listening to (in Irish).

The phrase ‘masterclass‘ is often used to describe the situation when an expert gives a lesson to someone who is not at the same level of expertise – imagine a young actor receiving an acting lesson from Meryl Streep or Al Pacino, for example. In football this word is used when a player, a manager or a team have completely outplayed the opposition; so we might hear the phrase ‘a footballing masterclass‘; ‘a striker’s masterclass‘ or even ‘a Mourinho masterclass‘.

If the phrase ‘football masterclass‘ is used it suggests that one team is so much better than the opposition in every aspect of the game: attack, defence, tactics, shooting and so on. If we use the word with a position on the pitch, for example, ‘she gave a defensive masterclass‘ then it means that one player has not only outplayed the opposition but has played so well that other players should also look up to them in order to learn how to be a better defender. We can also hear it used with a style of play so, for example, a counter-attacking masterclass is when one team has used a counter-attacking style to great effect.

masterclassSometimes we can also hear the word ‘masterclass‘ with a name of a player or a manager placed before it – a Mourinho masterclass – when their team has played really well in the way that this player or manager is associated with. So José Mourinho is well known as a defensive coach who can set up his team to counter attack and in Tottenham’s 2-0 win over Manchester City this is exactly what happened – his team sat deep and hit City on the break. It was a Mourinho masterclass in that it was typical of his team’s style and it also worked to perfection; other club managers who want to do the same should look to this performance to learn how to do something similar.

Stinger: You’re listening to (in Dutch).

DF: Thanks everyone for listening – we hope you enjoyed our look at the phrase ‘masterclass‘ and how it is used in football. Listen out for examples of this word when you are watching or reading about football, indeed, maybe you can let us know how this phrase is said in other languages. Drop us a line at and let us know or, of course, in the comments section below the post here at languagecaster. We’d also like to hear your examples of masterclass – who or what have given a masterclass in football?

Don’t forget there is also a transcript for the report which can be accessed for free at languagecaster. OK, we’ll be back soon with some more football language. Enjoy all the football this week – see you soon. Bye bye.

Check out our glossary of footballing phrases here. If you have any suggestions, contact us at
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Learn English Through Football

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