Learn English Through Football Podcast: Season 2022-23: (to) Cough Up

This football language podcast for learners of English, looks at some football language related to goalkeeping, including ‘to cough up’. We’ll discuss some of the football phrases connected to some action in the England vs Germany Nations League match. You can read the transcript for this podcast below, and you can also access our huge 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.

Learn English Through Football Podcast: Season 2022-23: (to) Cough Up

DB: Hi there everyone! Welcome to this football language podcast. My name is Damon, one half of the languagecaster team. I’m based in Tokyo, where everyone is getting nervous for the Japanese team in the World Cup next month. The Blue Samurai, the Japanese men’s national team, is in the group with Spain, Germany, and Costa Rica: a pretty tough group.

Talking about the World Cup, we are holding our traditional predictions competition on our site at languagecaster.com. Why don’t you join in. Come along to the site – languagecaster.com. Click on the World Cup 2022 Predictions link at the top of the page. Then, register for free. If you already have registered, then just log in. Then, you can start adding your predictions. We are thinking of great prizes for the winners, so it’s not just fun!

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

(to) Cough Up

DB: Yes, you are listening to language caster.com, and that message was in Japanese. I wonder if he believes the Blue Samurai can get through their group?

OK, let’s turn to some football language. The phrase we have to start is to cough up. This phrase is mostly used when describing a mistake by a goalkeeper. If a keeper fails to catch the ball and the ball falls out of their hands, we say they coughed the ball up. This is exactly what happened in England’s game against Germany in the Nations League – a match that ended 3-3 with a late equaliser by Germany. Here is The Guardian describing the error:

Example: “Pope had to do better with a routine shot from the substitute, Serge Gnabry. Instead he coughed it up to Havertz, who had a tap-in for the equaliser.” (The Guardian, September 2022)

So, Pope, the England keeper had an easy shot from German player, Gantry. However, he did not catch the ball and instead the ball fell out of his hands in front of Haverts. The striker then had an easy shot at goal.

The England keeper coughed up the ball – dropped the ball. We can also say the keeper spilled the ball, which is used in the same way.

A Tap In

DB. So Germany had an easy chance to equalise, to score the third goal. This was described as a ‘tap in’. To tap is to hit gently, so an easy shot that doesn’t need any power.

What other ways can we describe an easy goal? Well, a sitter is one of the most popular phrases. A sitter is a really easy chance. However, we usually use ‘a sitter‘ when we say someone has missed the chance; they missed a sitter. In the action we are looking at, Haverts did not miss the sitter. Instead, he had a tap in and equalised for Germany.

One of my favourite phrases to describe a situation where an attacker has an easy chance is a ‘buffet ball’. A buffet, of course, is a large delicious selection of food. You can choose what you want to eat, and there are so many options. A buffet ball is a great pass that gives an attacker an easy shot at goal; they can almost choose how they want to score.

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


DB: Yes, you are listening to languagecaster.com and that message was in German. OK. We looked at some phrases from the England vs Germany match, especially the phrases to cough up and to spill and how they are used with goalkeepers. We also looked at how to talk abut easy chances –a tap in, a sitter, and a buffet ball.

Remember that if you want to ask any football-language questions or simply say hello then you can do so by adding a comment on our site here at languagecaster.com or by using our forum. You can also send us an email at admin@languagecaster.com and you can also look out for us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


DB: Right, that’s it for this short football-language podcast and we’ll be back soon with more international football as the build up to the World Cup continues. Ta-ra.

Learn English Through Football
Learn English Through Football

Free football language podcast for learners of English brought to you by Damian and Damon. Interviews, match reviews, predictions all with full language support for football fans around the world who wish to improve their English language skills.

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I was born and brought up near Chester in the north west of England. I have always loved playing and talking about sport, especially football!
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