This post explains sit deepthe football term ‘to sit deep’ which is often used when describing a defensive team. You can find out more about this phrase by reading the transcript below, while 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: To sit deep

Teams can be organised according to positions, for example 4-4-2 or 3-5-2 but a decision about where the team sets up on the pitch is also important. Do they press forward and ‘squeeze’ the opposition or do they sit deep and wait for the opposition’s attacks? Some teams like to put all their players behind the ball and sit deep in their own half – sometimes even in or around their own penalty box – and maybe by sitting deep they can counter-attack their opponents.
Embed from Getty Images
Example:  The Irish team sat deep against their Danish opponents in the hope of catching them on the counter attack in the first leg of their World Cup play-off.

Example: ‘The Sky Sports pundit expects Jose Mourinho’s side to sit deep at Anfield, when they face Liverpool live on Sky Sports Premier League on Saturday.’ (14thOctober 2017).

Check out our glossary of footballing phrases here and if you have any suggestions or questions, contact us at

Subscribe to
Learn English Through Football

Or subscribe with your favorite app by using the address below

Welcome to the website that helps students interested in football improve their English language skills. Soccer fans can enhance these skills with lots of free language resources: a weekly podcast, football phrases, explanations of football vocabulary, football cliches, worksheets, quizzes and much more at

Google | Facebook | Twitter | Mail | Website

Join the discussion

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  • What does “sit” mean here?

    60: Argentina 1-0 Brazil
    Argentina look like they are just starting to sit in a bit, while Brazil are pushing forward in the final third. That half-time sub by manager Tite, bringing Roberto Firmino on for Fred, has injected some impetus into their play that they didn’t have in the opening 45.

    • If a team sits back or sits in it means they are being a little more cautious or defensive in their approach. If a team is winning sometimes they might retreat and be a little more defensive as they try to protect a lead or a point.

More from this show


Learn English Through FootballWelcome to the website that helps students interested in football improve their English language skills. Football fans can practise with lots of free language resources, including football-language podcasts and our huge football-language glossary.

Contact Us

Football GlossaryEpisode 747