Frame of the Goal – Football Language: Euro 2020 – Day 9

This football language podcast looks back at Day 9 of the 2020 European Championships. We explain some phrases connected with talking about the woodwork. To do this, we focus on the Portugal versus Germany game. You can read a transcript for this podcast below, while you can 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 (DB=Damon)

Frame of the Goal – Football Language: Euro 2020 – Day 9

DB: You’re listening to’s football language Euro 2020 podcast. Hi there everyone. My name is Damon, one half of the languagecaster team? How are things with you? On this show, I’m going to talk about how to talk about the woodwork in football, and I’ll be focusing on the match between Portugal and Germany in Group F.

Frame of the goalStinger: You are listening to (in Swedish).


DB: Yes, you are listening to languagecaster and that message was in Swedish.

So, day nine and the match between Portugal and Germany. What a game! I hope you had a chance to watch it. Six goals and a game full of incidents. There were a brace of, or two, own goals by Portugal in the space of five minutes, a goal chalked off, which means disallowed, stunning counter attacks, and exciting play in the box, especially by Germany.

But I want to talk about the near misses, the shots that nearly found the net. We had two examples of the ball hitting the woodwork in the match, so let’s take a look at those incidents and the football language to describe them.

First, in the 78th minute, with Portugal trailing Germany by two goals at 2-4, Renato Sanches smashed a shot which hit the woodwork. This is how the Guardian minute-by-minute described it.

“They play it short. Sanches, the substitute, thunders a fantastic shot from distance which crashes back off the frame of the goal.”

The Frame of the Goal

DB: In this description the writer uses ‘the frame of the goal’ instead of woodwork. Woodwork and the frame are  general terms that describe the whole goal – the two vertical posts and the horizontal bar. These three pieces make the woodwork, the frame of the goal.

When describing the ball hitting the woodwork we can use the verb ‘to hit’ – to hit the frame, to hit the woodwork. In the example from the Guardian we have ‘to crash’. You could say the shot crashed against the woodwork, or crashed back off the post for example. Smash could be used instead of crash with the same meaning – a hard shot against the woodwork.

Embed from Getty Images

So, Sanches’ shot crashed back off the frame of the goal. It actually hit the post, the vertical piece of the goal, so if we want to make the description clear, we could say the shot crashed back off the post. One more option would be ‘the upright’. 

OK, let’s look at the second example, which was an attempt by Goretzka from outside the box. A shot that just touched the woodwork as it flew over the goal. Here, again, is the Guardian minute-by-minute.

“Goretzka bears down on the Portuguese goal on the counterattack, and cracks a right-footed shot from a central position which flies just over, kissing the crossbar as it flashes by.”


Kiss the Woodwork

DB: Goretzka’s shot is different to Sanches’ as it only just touched the woodwork. The writer uses the verb ‘to kiss‘ to describe this light touch. As in the example with Sanches’ shot, we can describe the incident with more detail by replacing woodwork with crossbar or bar – the horizontal part of the goal. So, the shot kissed the bar as it flashed by.

Alternatives to kiss, would be to graze or to shave. Both of these verbs describe delicate contact. Indeed in the live commentary of the game, the commentator said the shot shaved the crossbar.

Of course when we talk about the ball hitting the woodwork, we use many different prepositions, such as against, on, off, over, past and so on. Maybe that is a good topic for another podcast on the language of football!

Stinger: You are listening to (in Polish).

Good Bye

DB: Yes, you are listening to and that message was in Polish. Right, today we talked about ways to describe the different parts of the goal – the woodwork, the frame, the upright, the post, the crossbar. We also looked at verbs to describe the shots that hit the woodwork – hit, smash, crash, kiss, graze, shave.

That’s it for this short podcast. Remember, you can also come along and play in our predictions competition, vote in our Euro 2020 poll and find lots of football language on our site here at Enjoy all the football. Ta-ra!

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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  • What does “rocket”/”give a rocket” mean here?

    28 min: Harry Maguire tries to take the ball out of defence and is fouled by Havertz. On his knees on the ground, the England defender gives Jordan Pickford a rocket for not being in a position where he could pass the ball back to him.

    Oh, you simply love to see it. From Dani Olmo’s searching cross, Álvaro Morata pulls away from his marker, chests down and unleashes a left-foot rocket into the roof of the net. What a moment!

    • To give someone a rocket in football means to tell them off/to scold them as they may have made a mistake. It usually happen between players from the same team (and mostly from a more senior player). It is a form of criticism but it may also be seen as a way of ‘waking up’ the player so they don’t do the mistake again.

Euro 2020Episode 748