Football Language PodcastIn this short football language post we explain the expression ‘to toy with an opponent‘ 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 Podcast: Toy with an opponent

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 ‘Toy with an opponent‘ 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 Thai).

DF: I was listening to a recent radio commentary of the game between Liverpool and Wolves in the Premier League and when Liverpool scored their fourth goal, the commentator said that the Reds were toying with their opponents, which means that Liverpool were not only winning easily but that they were completing dominating their opponents. This phrase suggests that Liverpool were so much better than Wolves that they were almost playing with them – and this is the meaning of to toy with someone – it was so easy that they could do whatever they wanted in the game.

Other words and phrases that you might hear with this phrase include, ‘to showboat‘, which means to show off, that is, when a team can try out different kinds of skills during the game as they are not really under any pressure. Sometimes if a team is toying with their opponents they keep possession – they play keep ball – and the fans shout ‘Ole!’ each time they touch the ball which makes the opponents feel even worse as they run around chasing the ball. Of course, these opponents are desperately hoping the other team ‘take their foot off the pedal‘ and relaxes or that the referee blows the final whistle to end their suffering. To toy with an opponent.

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

DF: Thanks everyone for listening – we hope you enjoyed our look at the phrase ‘toying with the opponent‘ and maybe you can let us know how this phrase is said in other languages. Drop us a line at and let us know.

Don’t forget there is also a transcript for the report which can be accessed for free here at languagecaster. 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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