This post explains runners-upthe football phrase ‘runners-up’which is used to describe a team finishing second in a competition.

  • 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.


The phrase ‘runners-up‘ refers to a team that has finished in second place in a competition. This may mean that a team has lost a final or has finished second in a league campaign. So, for example, in the 2014 World Cup Argentina were runners-up to Germany (having lost the final 1-0) while Tottenham finished runners-up to Chelsea in the 2016-17 Premier League season. Sometimes you will see the singular form ‘runner-up‘ and this is more often used when referring to individual sportsmen and women, for example, Colombian forward James RodrĂ­guez won the Golden Boot award for being top scorer (he scored 6 goals) at the 2014 World Cup with Germany’s Tomas MĂĽller finishing as runner-up after scoring five times in the tournament. Runners-up.

Example: The eight best runners-up will qualify for a play-off in the European section of the 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign.

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