‘To seal‘: we look at this verb, which is used especially in tournaments, in this short football language post. Read the transcript for this post below, and also check out our glossary of footballing phrases here and visit our site to access all our previous posts and podcasts. If you have any suggestions or questions then you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This verb originally meant to close a letter’s envelope by using wax and a ‘seal‘ or stamp. It came to mean ‘to finish’, as in finish some business: you write the letter, put it in an envelope, and seal it: the process is finished. Now, we often use ‘seal‘ in business. For example when you say to seal a deal, it means to agree a business deal.
In football it can mean to progress to the next stage in a competition or to decide a position in the table. In Tuesday’s (12 July) 2022 Women’s Euros match from Group B, Germany sealed top spot by beating Spain 2-0. Here is The Guardian’s headline: ‘Popp seals top spot as Germany see off Spain to secure Euro 2022 progress.’
- Example: ‘Dazzling England demolish Norway 8-0 to seal Euro 2022 quarter-final spot‘ (The Guardian, 11 July 2022)
Notice that in both these examples, the headlines us ‘spot‘ – ‘sealed top spot‘ and ‘seal quarter final spot‘. Spot means position, place and often goes with the verb ‘to seal‘. A different verb for this would be ‘secure’ – to secure a place in the quarter finals, to secure a spot in the semis, or secure a berth in the final.
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