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Lay Down a Marker – Learn English Through Football Podcast: Euro 2020 – Day 1

lay down a markerDuring Euro 2020, we will be posting each day with a focus on football language from the matches. For Day 1 – Turkey vs Italy, we have three phrases. 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

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Learn English Through Football Podcast: Euro 2020 – Day 1 – Lay Down a Marker

DB: Hello everyone, this is Damon from the Learning English Through Football team. And this is our first Euro 2020 Football Language of the day podcast. We’ll hopefully be doing one after each match day, so make sure you come along to our site,, or sign up for our podcasts via your podcast provider.

Lay Down a Marker

So, Day 1 is over and Italy notch up the first win, by beating Turkey 3-0. This is a very impressive result and that brings us to our first phrase for this match – Lay down a marker. Italy laid down a marker with this 3-0 win. They sent a warning to the other teams that they are strong, can score goals, and can also keep a clean sheet. Here is an example from

Example: Roberto Mancini’s side came into the tournament on a 27-game unbeaten run and laid down a marker with a comprehensive victory

We could also say that Italy sent a message to their rivals.

Stinger: You are listening to (in Italian).

Acres of Space

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DB: OK, our next phrase is acres of space, meaning a lot of space. Acre is a common expression in the UK to measure areas of land and one acre is roughly the size of a football pitch. In the Italy versus Turkey game, the Azzurri found acres of space on the flanks, at least up until they got to the Turkish box. Spinazzola from left back and Berardi on the right caused Turkey lots of problems as they ran into acres of space and were able to cut the ball back, or cross into the danger areas. So if a player has a lot of space, we say they have acres of space or maybe they are in acres, like this example from the Guardian:

Example: Spinazzola has been excellent tonight, always in acres out on the left.

Stinger: You are listening to (in Turkish) 

Keep things ticking over

DB: And our last phrase is to keep things ticking over. To tick over describes a machine, perhaps a clock hand or a car engine, moving regularly and unstoppable. In this game, Italy had the majority of the ball and their midfield was dominant. In the midfield, Jorginho kept things ticking over – he received the ball, passed it quickly, making sure that Italy were always in possession and always moving the ball.

Here’s an example, again from the same report in the Guardian as acres of space.

Example: The captain Chiellini was immense when called upon at the back, and nearly opened the scoring with a fine header. Jorginho kept things ticking over in the middle. 

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Stinger: You are listening to (in Polish)

Good Bye

DB: So, congratulations to Italy, they laid down a marker with a 3-0 win. They dominated possession and their midfield kept the ball ticking over. They found acres of space on the wings and were able to get enough balls into the box to cause Turkey all sorts of trouble.

Day 2 coming up! Stay tuned and check out our daily Euro 2020 posts, follow us on Twitter, Facebook etc., spread the word, and let us know if you have any comments or questions.


Learn English Through Football
Learn English Through Football
Learn English Through Football
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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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