Learn English Through Football Language Podcast: 2022 FIFA Club World Cup Final – Open the scoring

This week’s football language podcast looks back at some of the language from the 2022 World Club Cup final between Real Madrid and Al-Hilal. We’ll be looking at some phrases from The Guardian newspaper report on the high-scoring final including, ‘close range‘; ‘open the scoring‘ and ‘extend their lead‘. You can read the 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 admin@languagecaster.com.

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DF: Hello again everyone and welcome to Languagecaster.com – the football-language podcast for learners and teachers of English. I’m Damian and I’m here in London, while of course, the other member of the Languagecaster team is Damon who is based in Japan. Now, on today’s short podcast I will be looking back at the 2022 FIFA Club World Cup final that recently took place in Morocco between Real Madrid and Saudi Arabian side Al-Hilal. We’ll be explaining some of the words from a news report from The Guardian newspaper, including the expressions: ‘close range‘; ‘open the scoring‘ and ‘extend their lead‘. Now, remember that you can also access all of our other football-language podcasts – we have hundreds of them stretching back to October 2006 – by coming along to our site here at Languagecaster.com.

Stinger: You are listening to languagecaster.com (Al-Hilal SC (Sudan) fan)

2022 FIFA Club World Cup

The 2022 Club World Cup took place recently in Rabat in Morocco with Real Madrid winning their fifth world title (plus three more intercontinental titles) – that’s the most by any team – as the European club champions defeated Saudi Arabian side Al-Hilal, the Asian champions, 5-3 in the final. Madrid had easily beaten Al Ahly from Egypt 4-1 in the semi finals, while Al-Hilal shocked the Copa Libertadores winners Flamengo, beating the Brazilian team 3-2 to become the first team from Saudi Arabia to reach the final. Now, the competition will use a different format from 2025 with FIFA organising a 32-team tournament which is causing lots of controversy at the moment. But, let’s take a look at some of the phrases from the report on this year’s final.

Open the scoring/Extended their lead

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…Real, the European champions, opened the scoring in the 13th minute through Vinícius before Valverde extended their lead five minutes later (Guardian.co.uk, February 11 2023)
In this part of the Guardian report we are told that Real Madrid forward Vinícius Jr has scored the first goal of the game and we know this because of the phrase ‘opened the scoring‘ which means he started the scoring. We could also use the phrase ‘opening goal‘ to describe this goal – he scored the opening goal of the final in the 13th minute. The sentence continues by describing the second Real Madrid goal – Valverde extended the lead – which means that Madrid went further ahead; in this case from 1-0 to 2-0. So, if a team extends their lead it means they have increased their lead. We could not say that a team extended their lead 1-0 – this would be opening the scoring. 

Close-range strikes

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Benzema and Valverde added to Real’s lead with close-range strikes in the 54th and 58th minutes respectively (Guardian.co.uk, February 11 2023)
This part of the report tells us about the third and fourth goals from Real Madrid and both of these goals were scored by players positioned very near the goal – maybe in the six-yard box. The phrase ‘close-range strike‘ means that they hit the ball (that’s the strike) from very near the goal line. Other phrase that appear with ‘close range’ include a close-range shot or a close-range goal.

High-scoring encounter

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…but Vietto scored his second of the night 10 minutes later to round off a high-scoring encounter (Guardian.co.uk, February 11 2023)
An encounter is another word for a meeting and although it usually means an unexpected meeting, in football it can be used to simply describe a match between two sides. Different adjectives before the word can give different meanings to describe the game so for example a close encounter would be a game that was very tight, while a home encounter against a team would describe that the game would be played at home. In the Guardian report, the game is described as a high-scoring encounter as the final score was 5-3.

Here are some more examples of the word encounter in football that describes two teams playing each other (from the BBC.co.uk (2019)):

  • … a low-key Goodison Park encounter, which ended goalless
  • It was not an encounter that will live long in the memory (so it was quite boring).
  • …victory over Crystal Palace in an entertaining encounter at Selhurst Park
  • …victory over Manchester City in a lively encounter at St Mary ‘s. (Both of these examples suggests the game was full of excitement, full of chances, end-to-end, entertaining – a lively encounter).

Related Vocabulary/Glossary


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Now, if you have any questions or comments then drop us an email at admin@languagecaster.com and you can also look out for us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. We also have a football-language forum where you can ask and answer any questions you have on the language of football.

Stinger: You are listening to languagecaster.com (Brazilian fan).


DB: Yes, you are listening to languagecaster and that message was from a Brazilian fan. Don’t forget there’s a transcript for this short podcast and there’s lots of vocabulary support – we explain lots of the meanings of these words in the transcript, which you can access by coming along to our site. OK, that’s it for this short podcast about the 2022 FIFA Club World Cup tournament that took place in Morocco in which we looked at the phrases, ‘close range‘; ‘high-scoring encounter‘; ‘open the scoring‘ and ‘extend their lead. Let us know if you hear these words in any language while watching football. Yes, enjoy all the football this week and we’ll see you again soon. Bye bye!

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