In this post, we explain the football phrase ‘Spill the ball’.To spill the ball

  • 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.

Football Language: To spill the ball

DF: If a goalkeeper makes a save and then allows the ball to escape his or her hands we say that the ball has been spilled, that the keeper has spilled the ball. The could mean that a forward who is following in can take advantage and score with a tap in.

This phrase was brought to our attention from one of the friends of the show Amadeu in Brazil who asked about the phrase ‘to spill’ from the following example: “Bale took a shot that was spilled by Sociedad goalkeeper Geronimo Rulli, and Ronaldo then managed to finish off the chance.”

To spill is to let something drop (usually liquid) but here it refers to the keeper losing control of the ball – the keeper saved it but could not hold on to the ball and so Ronaldo was able to score on the rebound. This phrase has a similar meaning to ‘parry a shot.’ The 2002 World Cup final goal is a perfect example  (here is a link to that goal) when Kahn spilled the ball and Ronaldo scored on the rebound. I think if a keeper spilled the ball it means that he or she has made a mistake. To spill the ball.

Example: Germany drew first blood in the 19th minute when Josephine Henning headed home after Italian keeper Laura Giuliani spilled the ball following Dzsenifer Marozsan’s free-kick (The, July 2017).


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