Learn English Through Football Podcast: Work the Keeper

work the keeperIn this short football language post, we take a look at some language connected with missing a good chance. Check out our football glossary  and  football cliches pages for hundreds more explanations of the language of soccer. If you have questions or comments about this or any other phrase then email us at: admin@languagecaster.com. (DB=Damon)

Learn English Through Football Podcast: Work the keeper

DB: You’re listening to languagecaster.com. Hi everyone, thanks for dropping by. This is the Learn English Through Football Podcast brought to you by the languagecaster.com team – Damian and myself Damon. We hope you are all well and that you are managing to enjoy the football wherever you are. I’m based in Japan, where recently Kawasaki Frontale  were crowned champs of J League. Their supporters will be enjoying that feeling, while I’m enjoying the clear blue skies that we have over here in Tokyo at the moment.

You are listening to languagecaster.com (Kawasaki fan)

DB: Yes, you are listening to languagecaster.com and that was, as you heard, a message from a Kawasaki-Frontale fan.


On today’s short football language podcast, we’re going to focus on some typical phrases used to describe a disappointing shot and the action around it. But before that, just to remind you that you can get in touch with us by emailing admin@languagecaster.com, by coming along to our site at languagecaster.com, or by checking us out on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram – just look for languagecaster and learning English through football. And you can also support what we do by becoming a supporter via patron.com/languagecaster. We really appreciate the support we receive which allows us to pay for our site’s running costs!

A Good Opportunity

OK, let’s turn to today’s theme – a missed shot, especially a shot when the player has a good chance of scoring. The player could be through on goal, meaning he or she has received the ball and has got behind the defence. The player may be one-on-one with the keeper: again, this means the attacking player has beaten the defense and only has the keeper in front of them. Or maybe the player has found some space in or around the area – they have the ball under control and they have some time before a defender can reach them. In all of these cases, we expect the attacking player to have a good chance of scoring. So, just to recap, the attacker is through on goal, or is one-on-one with the keeper, or has found some space in the area.

The Missed Shot

Now, let’s move on to the next phase of play, when the attacker shoots, and particularly if the player shoots wide of the posts or over the bar. This is obviously disappointing, as everyone expected a good chance to score. In this situation we might hear the cliche – she’s got to do better or he has to do better, both ‘got‘ and ‘had‘ can be used. As with many cliches – like it’s a game of two halves – this phrase is obvious: of course the player wanted to do better, wanted to shoot on target, should have had a better shot. Nevertheless, you will hear this a lot when a player misses a good chance.

Another phrase could be, he’s got to make the keeper work, meaning the shot should at least be on target – it should make the keeper make a save. The phrase could also be she’s got to work the keeper. So, a player has found some space in the area and shoots, but wide – you might say ‘he’s got to do better there’ or ‘she’s got to work the keeper’.

Of course, there could be many ways to describe a shot that misses: it could be a scuffed shot, it could be dragged wide, it could be blazed over. Come along to languagecaster.com and check out our glossary for more on the language of shots.

You are listening to languagecaster.com (German)

DB: And that message was in German

Wrap Up

DB: Right, before we go, just to let you know you can also check out our recent post this week, which focuses on some language to describe different types of goalkeeper, for example one who is good with their feet. Check it out and let us  know if you have any ideas for football phrases: we are always interested in questions and suggestions, and also love to hear about football phrases in other languages, too. For example, how would you describe the situation we have looked at today, when a player, in a  good position, wastes a chance to score? Let us know at admin@langaugecaster.com or reply to our social media posts.

Good Bye

DB: And finally, another sad piece of news this week, with the passing of Paulo Rossi, the Italian who lit up the 1982 World Cup. RIP Rossi.

Embed from Getty Images

Check out our glossary of footballing phrases here. If you have any suggestions, contact us at admin@languagecaster.com
Subscribe to
Learn English Through Football

Or subscribe with your favorite app by using the address below

Hosted by

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!
Google | Facebook | Twitter | Mail | Website

Join the discussion

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

More from this show

PodcastEpisode 635