In this short podcast on the language of football, we talk about a football phrase that describes a shot. The phrase is ‘a sweet strike’. Check out the transcript of the show below, and you also make sure you check out our huge glossary of footballing phrases here and visit our site to access all our previous posts and podcasts. Teachers of English can use the audio and transcript to provide practice for their students, too. Try a gap-fill activity for example. If you have any suggestions or questions then you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Learn English Through Football: (a) Sweet Strike
DB: Hello everyone and welcome to languagecaster.com, which is the podcast and website for all those interested in the language of football and in learning English. My name’s Damon and I’m based in a freezing Tokyo. But unlike much of Japan, there is no snow in sight, just clear, cold, blue skies.
I heard it is cold in London too, where Damian is based. Damian, is of course the other half of the team. I wonder if he enjoyed the cold London derby between Fulham and Tottenham? I’m sure he did, as Tottenham, the team he supports, got a very valuable three points with a 1-0 away win.
And the word we are looking at today is connected with that derby. More after this.
Stinger: You are listening to languagecaster.com (Arsenal fan)
(a) Sweet Strike
DB: Yes, you are listening to languagecaster.com, and thank you to that Arsenal fan. The Gunners are flying at the moment in the Premier League, aren’t they. Another impressive win, this time 3-2 over Manchester United.
But let’s get back to the phrase we are looking at today, which describes a kind of shot; one that usually ends up as a goal. The phrase was used to describe Harry Kane’s winner for Spurs against Fulham. Here is the BBC’s description: ‘The England captain scored the only goal with a sweet strike into the bottom corner from just outside the box.’
So, the phrase is ‘sweet strike‘.
To strike is a verb, which means to hit, so in football to hit or kick the ball or to shoot. In this phrase, strike is used as a noun. The adjective sweet is a casual way to say something is good, beautiful or great, and in football is often used when the player hits the ball really well. In combination, a sweet strike means a fantastic shot, perhaps a volley that is beautifully timed, an unstoppable piledriver, or a great free kick.
The BBC goes on to give more detail about Kane’s sweet strike: “It was an expert Kane strike, taking Son Heung-min’s pass with his back to goal, turning a defender and then picking his spot from outside the box.’
Notice they say it was an ‘expert‘ strike, so very skilful, perfect. The report then emphasises the skill, by saying he picked his spot, so he chose where he wanted the ball to go and his shot succeeded: the shot was very accurate.
We can use the words slightly differently and use strike as a verb and sweet as an adverb, so Kane struck the ball sweetly.
Another word that can be used to mean a great shot, a breath-taking shot, is a beauty. Made famous by Andy Gray (ex-footballer’s) commentary during the Liverpool vs Olympiakos Champions League final group stage game, which Liverpool needed to win. They did so, with a. sweet strike by Steven Gerrard, which made the commentator Fray scream, ‘Oh, you beauty! What a hit, son! What a hit!’. So, if you’re describing a great goal with your friends afar a match, you can say, it was a beauty! It was. great goal.
I’m a Liverpool fan, so I am biased, but Gerrard’s sweet strike was a beauty! Look it up on YouTube!
Stinger: You are listening to languagecaster.com (Italian)
DB: Yes, you are listening to languagecaster.com and that message was in Italian. OK, we looked at one way to describe a great shot or goal, a sweet strike. We also mentioned a way to talk about a great goal – a beauty! Keep your eyes out for some sweet strikes and beauties during this weekend’s football!
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DB: OK, that brings us to the end of this short football-language podcast. Enjoy all of the football and we’ll be back soon! Ta-ra!
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