Learn English through Football Language Podcast: Opposition

This short football language podcast looks at the word ‘opposition‘ which is a way of describing the team that you are playing against in a match. 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 the day after I went to see my team lose at home against relegation-threatened Bournemouth. This was a disappointing result for Spurs and for me as their opponents took advantage of a bad day at the office for the home side. Of course, the other member of the Languagecaster team is Damon who is based in Japan.

Stinger: You are listening to languagecaster.com (in Japanese)

Now, I hope we are all doing well and enjoying all the football even if you are a Tottenham fan! On this podcast we take a look at the word ‘opposition‘ which is used in football to describe the team that another team is playing against – it has a similar meaning to opponent which I mentioned at the start of the show. So, Bournemouth were the opposition for Tottenham’s game yesterday and they proved to be a tough opponent. And we will also be looking at some examples of this word to get a better understanding of how it is used in football. We will also look at some of the different forms connected to this word including  ‘opposing‘.

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Yes, that message was in Bemba from a football fan from Zambia and yes, you are listening to Languagecaster.com. Now, remember that in addition to this podcast, you can also access all of our other football-language podcasts – we have hundreds of them stretching back to October 2006. Come along to our site here at Languagecaster.com.

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Learn English through Football Language Podcast: Opposition

Kane became only the third opposition player to score inside 60 seconds in a Premier League game at Anfield and his goal silenced the crowd (BBC.co.uk, October 27 2019)
So, the meaning of the word ‘opposition‘ is all about the other team (the opponents) in a game. The opposition refers more to a group of players (or a team) rather than an individual player – this would be an opponent. So, for example, the phrase ‘to bully an opponent‘ which means to dominate the opponent would only refer to an individual player while the phrase ‘bully the opposition‘ means that the whole team or the whole defence has been dominated.

There are times the word opposition is used to describe a player such as in the example we have here from the BBC. In this report, Kane (from Tottenham) has scored an early goal at Anfield (that’s Liverpool’s ground) and he has been described as the opposition player – so he is a player from the opposition (or the opposing team). We might also hear the following phrases that use ‘opposition‘ as a description of something else in the game:

  • Opposition half: This is the half that the other team is defending. Tottenham failed to play in the opposition half for 20 minutes after half time.
  • Opposition captain: The opposition captain was sent off and will miss the next game due to suspension.
  • Opposition defence: And this is the other team’s defence.

Sometimes we might also hear that one team does not do so well against a certain kind of opposition which means that some teams play in a certain manner – maybe they are very defensive or they play a counter-attacking side.

Here are some more examples of phrases using the terms ‘opposition‘ and ‘opposing‘:

  • He showed glimpses, drawing a foul as he skipped past opposition skipper Rice in the first half (BBC.co.uk January 2020)
  • When it came to VAR‘s role, Hassenhuttl was of a different opinion that [than] the man in the opposing dugout (Daily Mail 2019)
  • “We want to go and score and take the game to the opposition, whoever we’re playing,” said Wilder (Telegraph.co.uk 2019 November 9)
  • …[th team] suffered a humiliating defeat to League One opposition



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OK, 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 (in Vietnamese).


DB: Yes, you are listening to languagecaster and that message was from two Vietnamese fans. 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 which was all about the phrases ‘opposition’ and ‘opposing‘. Who are the your favourite team playing in their next game – who are their next opposition? Who are their next opponents? Enjoy all the football – even us Tottenham fans – and we’ll see you again soon. Bye bye!

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

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