Football Language: (to) Snatch

In this post, we explain the verb ‘snatch‘, which is used in two ways in football. If you have questions or comments, email us at:

  • 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) Snatch

This week’s football language is ‘to snatch‘. This verb is heard mainly in two senses. First of all, let’s look at the general meaning of the verb to snatch. A dictionary definition might say to snatch is to grab something quickly, often in a rude way, or to steal something by taking it quickly.In football the first way the phrase is used has the second sense, that of to steal something. You may often hear the phrase ‘team A snatched a draw in the last minutes of the game’ for example. This means that the team scored a goal against the run of play, perhaps undeservedly – they stole a draw with a late goal. It often collocates with point or draw – snatch a draw, snatch a point.

Example: “Florian Kamberi snatched an unlikely point as Hibernian held Rangers to a 1-1 Ladbrokes Premiership draw.” (The Guardian, 8 March 2019) 

Secondly, to snatch at a shot in football would be to shoot, but in a rushed way. The shot fails because the player hurriedly tried to shoot, he or she snatched at the chance.

Example: “Sterling has shown a lack of composure in these situations in the past, and previously he may have snatched at the shot and fired straight at the goalkeeper or blazed the ball off target.” (Planet Football, 16 April 2018)

Related Links

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Learn English Through Football
Learn English Through Football

Free football language podcast for learners of English brought to you by Damian and Damon. Interviews, match reviews, predictions all with full language support for football fans around the world who wish to improve their English language skills.

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I was born and brought up near Chester in the north west of England. I have always loved playing and talking about sport, especially football!
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Football GlossaryEpisode 836