In this football language post we explain the football expression ‘square ball’ (or ‘square pass’) which sounds rather strange – like an oxymoron – but actually refers to a type of pass. Don’t forget we have hundreds more explanations of football language in our football glossary and we also have a page full of football cliches. If you have questions or comments about this or any other phrase then email us at:

Square ballAttribution: Leon Queeley / CC BY-SA (

Football Expression: Square ball/Square pass

There are lots of ways to describe a pass in football – a crisp pass is one that is hit hard and fast in order to break through the defensive line, while a loose pass is an inaccurate pass, one that doesn’t go to where the player wants it to go (a sloppy ball). A square pass (or ball) refers to a pass that travels horizontally rather than vertically so across the pitch. In an attacking position these types of passes can be very effective as they can open up spaces for a team mate who may be in a better position. The verb ‘to square‘ is also used to describe this kind of pass – the player squared the ball to Baggio who scored. To square the ball. A square pass/ball.

  • Example:  And then with under two minutes remaining an attack down the right side allowed full back Mussi to break into the box, square the ball to Roberto Baggio who stroked the ball into the bottom corner of the net for the equaliser.

Related Phrases

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Learn English Through Football

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Football GlossaryEpisode 915