Learn English Through Football Podcast: 2021 FA Cup Final

In this short football language podcast we look at some of the phrases that emerged from the 2021 FA Cup Final between Chelsea and Leicester City from the BBC website’s report and in particular three key moments from the match. You can read a transcript for this podcast below, along with some vocabulary support at the end of the post, 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 then you can contact us at admin@languagecaster.com.

Learn English Through Football Podcast: 2021 FA Cup Final

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 some of the words and phrases that came out of the 2021 FA Cup final between Chelsea and Leicester and we’ll be looking at the BBC website’s match report to help us do this. The final was decided in three key moments and we’ll be explaining some of the language that the BBC match report used to describe the goal, the saves and the disallowed goal. You can read a transcript for this podcast by coming along to our site here at languagecaster.com, while you can also find some vocabulary support here too.

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

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DF: Leicester City won their first ever FA Cup title after defeating Chelsea 1-0 in the 2021 FA Cup Final at Wembley this weekend. The Foxes (that’s the Leicester’s nickname) became the 44th team to win the trophy and their debut victory came at the fifth attempt so before today’s win they had appeared in most finals without ever having won the Cup.

The first half was a cagey affair which means that both sides were wary of each other, they did not want to take too many risks and so when the referee blew his whistle for half time each side had only had a couple of half chances. In the second half Leicester started to play better and halfway through this half, their young Belgian midfielder Youri Tielemans scored with a wonderful strike and this is how the BBC reported it:

The Belgian settled a closely contested encounter with a spectacular right-foot drive that flew beyond Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga into the top corner from 25 yards in the 63rd minute. (BBC.co.uk, 2021)

So, the report describes Tielemans’ goal as spectacular which means something amazing or dramatic and it then goes on to describe the kind of shot he had – a drive – which suggests power but also accuracy. We could also describe this as a screamer, a wonderstrike, a thunderbolt, a bullet or we can also use the distance from goal to explain how good it was – a 25-yarder in this case. The TV commentator also used the phrase, ‘put his laces through it‘ which again refers to the power of the shot (the laces are part of the player’s boot), while I thought we could also use the verb ‘to arrow the shot’ which again combines power and accuracy. I also heard a pundit say that it was ‘a goal to grace any game‘ which means that it was a great, and important, goal, although this phrase is more commonly used in a less important match than the FA Cup final itself.

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The the BBC goes on to describe where the ball went after it left Tieleman’s boot – into the top corner which of course is an almost impossible place for the keeper to save the ball. We have previously covered the expressions ‘postage stamp‘ and ‘top bins‘ on our website and both of them refer to the top corner of the goal. Finally, we should look at the verb ‘to fly – as in to fly by Kepa’ which describes the power and speed of the shot – the keeper had no chance at all as the ball passed him at top speed – it flew past him.

The Foxes were indebted to two crucial saves from keeper Kasper Schmeichel, who turned former Leicester defender Ben Chilwell’s header on to a post then produced an even better stop to turn Mason Mount’s powerful shot wide. (BBC.co.uk, 2021)
This brings us to the next key moments of the games: the second-half saves from Leicester’s Peter Schmeichel which helped maintain their clean sheet and helped them lift the trophy. Here’s the BBC again:

The verb that is used to describe the Danish keeper’s first save is ‘to turn a shot on to a post‘ and is used when a shot or header is going into the goal right by the posts until the goalkeeper prevents it from doing so. These saves are quite difficult as the keeper has to try and reach the ball, while at the same time they may be worried about crashing into the posts. In this example, Schmeichel reached the ball (a header from his former Leicester team mate Ben Chilwell) and pushed it away from danger; the ball then hit the post and went out for a corner, so we can say that the keeper had turned the shot on to the post. 

His second save was even better as Chelsea player Mason Mount fired in a half-volley which the keeper then pushed away in mid-air – he threw himself at the ball and appeared to be flying! He turned the shot wide – this is similar to the previous expression with the verb ‘to turn’ being used again but this time we can see that the ball did not hit the post. Two amazing saves from Schmeichel which definitely helped his side go on to win the trophy.

And in a final act of drama, Wes Morgan bundled into his own net following a last-minute goalmouth scramble before it was ruled out by the barest of margins following the intervention of VAR. (BBC.co.uk, 2021)
The final key moment from the game took place in the last minute when Chelsea were desperately trying to score an equaliser. Here again is the BBC.

The ball reached Chilwell whose cross into the six-yard box was then bundled into the netto bundle into the net means that the ball has gone in; a goal has been scored but in an untidy manner. But this expression in the BBC report has an added piece of information – bundled into his own net which means that the Leicester City defender Wes Morgan scored an own goal in the confusion. If a ball is bundled home it is often after a goal mouth scramble which means that a lot of players are fighting for the ball and no one has any real control of the ball – it is not usually the most beautiful of moments in football but it is definitely very exciting!

The second part of this sentence exlains what happened after the goal was scored – it was ruled out or disallowed when VAR checked it. The reason for the disallowed goal was that Chilwell was offside – a fraction offside, just offside, barely offside – all of these phrases suggest that a player was offside by the smallest of distances or margins – so Leicester survived and held out to secure a famous victory.

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

Good Bye

DF: Yes, you are listening to languagecaster.com and that message was in Welsh. Don’t forget that there’s a transcript to this podcast and lots of vocabulary support which you can access by coming along to our site. And remember that you can follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or you can drop us a line at: admin@languagecaster.com.

OK, that’s it for this short podcast – we hope you have enjoyed our look back at the 2021 FA Cup final – well done again to Leicester City. And let us know if you hear any of the words and phrases we mentioned in this show and maybe you can tell us how they are said in other languages. And we’ll have more football phrases to talk about in our next podcast – it is a busy time in football as we are in the business end of the season! Enjoy all the football this week and we’ll see you again soon. Bye bye.

Vocabulary

The Goal

  • spectacular drive: A wonderfully dramatic shot
  • a screamer: An unstoppable shot, it is hit so hard that the keeper has no chance
  • a wonderstrike: This is similar to a screamer – it is a wonderful strike of the ball
  • a 25-yarder: A shot from 25 yards away from the goal
  • put his laces through it: The player really hit the ball hard
  • to arrow the shot: To hit the ball hard but with direction
  • a goal to grace any game: A beautiful goal that was so beautiful it could appear in any type of game. This is usually used to describe a goal in a lower-level match when a goal is so good that we could imagine it taking place in a Cup Final at Wembley!
  • postage stamp: The top corners of the goal
  • To fly past the keeper: To go into the net at top speed

The Saves

  • to lift the trophy: To win the Cup
  • to turn a shot on to a post: To save the shot by pushing it onto the post
  • went out for a corner: The defender or keeper put the ball behind their line so the opposition have a corner
  • turned the shot wide: The keeper pushed the ball wide of the goal/the posts

The Disallowed Goal

  • six-yard box: The area just in front of the goal – it is six yards from the goal line (it is about 5.5 metres)
  • bundled into the net: The ball was untidly forced over the line – not a clean strike.
  • an own goal: When a player scores a goal in their own net.
  • goal mouth scramble: When a lot of players are fighting for the ball in the penalty area.
  • ruled out: The gol was disallowed, not given.
  • a fraction offside: Just or slightly offside.
  • the smallest of margins: the smallest distance possible
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