In this week’s football language podcast we look at the phrase ‘to dent their title hopes‘ which is used when a team loses a game which affects their chances of winning a title. Check out our glossary of footballing phrases here, and visit our site to access all the previous posts and podcasts. If you have any suggestions, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Learn English Through Football Language Podcast: Dent Their Title Hopes
DF: Hello everyone, this is Damian from the Learning English Through Football team. I hope we are all doing well and staying safe wherever we are in the world. Now on this short football language podcast we take a look at the phrase ‘to dent their title hopes‘ which is often heard around this time of the season as teams try to win titles, avoid relegation, qualify for Europe or gain promotion.
One of the meanings of the verb ‘to dent‘ is to make something such as a chance or a hope smaller; so it means to reduce chances of success. So, for example after yesterday’s Premier League defeat against Leeds United we can say that Tottenham’s chances of qualifying for next season’s Champions League have been dented. Here are a couple more examples:
- Example: ‘Leeds dent Leicester’s title hopes‘ (RTE.ie, 31 Jan 2021). So, Leeds have defeated Leicester which has affected their chances of winning the title.
- Example: ‘Man Utd confirm Paul Pogba injury blow in dent to Premier League title hopes‘ (Mirror.co.uk Feb 8 2021). So here, Paul Pogba, a very important player, has been injured this has reduced their chances; it has brought down their hopes of winning the game.
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Now the choice of verb when describing a team’s hopes for a title is important as this demonstrates how badly these hopes have been affected. Here are some more examples which can show this:
- Tottenham’s Champions League hopes have been hit.
- Leeds dented Tottenham’s Champions League hopes.
- ‘Leeds’ Rodrigo breaks to deal blow to Tottenham’s slim top-four hopes’ (Guardian.co.uk, May 8 2021)
- Tottenham’s Champions League hopes in tatters after Leeds defeat.
So, in the first three examples ‘hit‘, ‘dented‘ and ‘to deal a blow‘ there is a suggestion that the defeat has had a fairly negative effect on the team’s chances although maybe there is still some hope. In the final one, however, there is hardly any hope left at all as tatters means that something is really badly damaged.
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OK, that’s it for this short podcast – we hope you have enjoyed our look at the phrase ‘to dent their title hopes‘. Let us know if you hear it or maybe if you know how to say it in another language. And we’ll have more football phrases to talk about in our next podcast. Enjoy all the football this week and we’ll see you again soon. Bye bye.