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Learn English Through Football Language Podcast: To Fool

It’s April 1st which in some countries is known as April Fool’s Day so on this football language podcast we look at the phrase ‘to fool‘ which can be used in football to describe a situation when a player can deceive another player. There is a transcript with this listening activity along with some vocabulary practice and you can also check out our football glossary and football cliches pages for hundreds more explanations of the language of football/soccer. If you have questions or comments about this or any other phrase then email us at:

Learning English Through Football Podcast: To fool

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DF: Hello everyone, this is Damian from the Learning English Through Football team. I hope we are all doing well and enjoying the football. I’m one half of the languagecaster team and I’m based in London, while the other member of the team is Damon and he of course is living in Tokyo in Japan. Now, today is April 1st which here in the UK is known as April Fool’s Day – a day when people play tricks on each other. And so on this podcast I am going to talk a little bit about the verb ‘to fool‘ and some of its other forms that are used in football.

Stinger: You are listening to (Zambian fan).

Now, don’t forget there is, of course, a transcript to go with this podcast – it’s great for teaching and learning English – and if you have any questions or comments about any of the football language in this report then you can contact us at: or ask a question on our football language forum.

Stinger: You are listening to (Greek fan).

Contact Us  Forum Glossary

To fool

Now, I mentioned that today’s focus will be on the verb ‘to fool‘ which means to deceive or to trick someone. So, for example in football there are many ways that teams and players can fool opponents by using different tricks and skills. A player can fool another player by maybe nutmegging them – by putting the ball through another player’s legs. We can also say that a player fooled the referee – maybe by diving or pretending to be hurt – so that the referee will give them the decision. The referee was fooled by the dive and awarded the penalty, for example.

To make a fool of (the keeper)

Another way of saying this is by using the verb phrase ‘to make a fool of someone‘. For example, sometimes we can hear that a forward has made a fool of the opposition keeper by sitting them down or going round them. So, to make a fool of someone is to make someone look silly or stupid. Here is an example from the Mail Online from 2019:

Example: Barnes ran away celebrating, cupping his ear with his hand. Arsenal’s defenders were crying offside. Would VAR make a fool of the Burnley striker? Nope. (Daily Mail August 2019)

In this example, the Burnley player celebrated before VAR had been checked so if the goal had been chalked off or disallowed then he would have looked foolish – but lucky for him, the goal stood (the goal was allowed) and he could continue with his celebration.


Now the adjective form of this word is ‘foolish‘ and to look foolish means to look stupid; so to do something without any good judgment would be a foolish decision. We can also use it to describe certain things in football, so a foolish foul is a foul that should not have been committed – the same with a foolish free kick – the player should not have given away the free kick. Here are some more examples:

  • People have been foolish to write them off before. [So, in this case many people feel that the team will not come back but actually they do]
  • DeAndre Yedlin conceded a free-kick for a foolish shove [or push] on Grealish just outside the penalty
  • …at Villa Park, Arthur Masuaku committed a foolish foul when already booked and was duly sent off.

Stinger: You are listening to (in Vietnamese)


Yes, that message was in Vietnamese and if you’d like to send us a message in any language for our podcast then contact us here at – we’d love to hear from you. OK, that’s it for this very short podcast in which we’ve looked at some of the ways that we can use the words ‘to make a fool of‘; ‘to be fooled‘ and ‘foolish‘ in football. Let us know if you know any other words or phrases connected to these terms – in any language - by adding a comment below our post here or by dropping us a line at:

And don’t forget there’s a transcript for this report with lots of vocabulary support and of course we have a huge glossary of football language here at languagecaster – hundreds and hundreds of entries, including many of the words and phrases from today’s show. OK, myself and Damon will be back soon with some more football language. Enjoy all the football this week and we’ll see you again soon. Bye bye.

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

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