thunderboltIn this football language post we explain the word ‘thunderbolt‘ which is connected to shooting in football. Can you guess its meaning? 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:

Football Cliche: Thunderbolt

A thunderbolt is used to describe a lightning flash and a huge sound of thunder and this power is the reason we use it in football to describe a type of shot. If a player scores with a thunderbolt it suggests that the shot is a powerful one – a really powerful one – and is unstoppable; the keeper cannot stop the shot. Be careful, a thunderbolt is not the same as a lightning strike as a lightning strike includes the meaning of speed; so for instance soon after the kick off. In this week’s Champions League last-16 matches, Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland scored with a thunderbolt when he smashed the ball into the net from 25 yards, leaving the keeper no chance at all. A thunderbolt must be scored from distance – it cannot be a close range shot for example – so it might come from outside the box for example. Other examples of powerful shots include:

Example: The 19-year-old Norwegian showed two distinct sides of his impressive game with two second-half strikes – the first a predatory finish after Raphael Guerreiro’s shot was blocked and the second a left-footed thunderbolt from 20 yards. (18 February 2020,

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

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Football GlossaryEpisode 902