Roof of the Net – Football Language: Euro 2020 – Quarter Finals Day 1

This football language podcast looks back at the first day of the quarter final action at Euro 2020, especially the penalty shootout between Spain and Switzerland. You can read a 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 (DB=Damon)

Roof of the Net – Football Language: Euro 2020 – Quarter Finals Day 1

DB: You’re listening to’s football language Euro 2020 podcast. Hi there, everyone. Welcome to our daily Euro 2020 football language podcast. My name is Damon, one half of the languagecaster team. I’m based in a rainy, humid Tokyo, and the other half of the team, Damian, is on a different continent, in London. So, it is the quarter finals and we’ve seen Spain squeak past Switzerland in a penalty shootout and Italy look good against another tournament favourite Belgium. The Azzuri won that one 2-1.

On this show, I’m going to focus on some of the language from the penalty shoot out in the Spain versus Switzerland match.

Stinger: You are listening to (Spanish).

Penalty Shootout

DB: Yes you are listening to languagecaster and our football language podcast and that message was in Spanish.

The first quarter final saw Spain and Switzerland finish the 90 minutes and extra time deadlocked (see also stalemate) at 1-1. This meant the game had to be decided on penalties; there would be a penalty shootout. Spain went on to win on penalties, but let’s look at some of the language used to describe the penalties taken. We’ll use the minute-by-minute commentaries from and the Guardian.

Embed from Getty Images

Send the Wrong Way

DB: First up is the phrase ‘to send the wrong way‘. This is when the player taking the penalty makes the keeper think he or she will shoot one way, but shoots the other. This means the goalkeeper dives one way and the ball goes the opposite side.

The first penalty was taken by Spain’s captain, Busquets. Here is “The Spain skipper strides up confidently, sending Sommer the wrong way, but nudges the ball low onto the base of the left-hand post.

Although he sent the keeper the wrong way, his shot came back off the woodwork, it hit the base of the left hand post. The next penalty was taken by the Swiss Gavranovic and he also sent the keeper the wrong way but scored. Here is the Guardian: “Gavranovic scores, sending Simon the wrong way.

Roof of the Net

DB: The next phrase we can take a look at is ‘roof of the net‘. This is inside the goal and the top of the net – the roof. A shot here is almost impossible to stop if it is to the side of the keeper, as it is too high for the keeper to reach as they dive left or right. It also looks spectacular and confident. wrote: “An emphatic kick from the Leipzig man (Olmo), who thumps his kick right-footed and into the roof of the net to the left of goal.

Notice they use ‘thump’, which means hit really hard, to emphasise how difficult this shot was to stop. The Guardian, uses this phrase but turns the roof into a verb, to roof, which is very unusual but very descriptive: “Dani Olmo roofs the ball.”

So, you can send the keeper the wrong way and miss or score. You can also take a great penalty into the roof of the net, but what about the keeper? The next phrase is ‘to dive low’.

Dive Low

DB: The keeper is often the hero in a penalty shootout. they are not expected to save a penalty. On the other hand an outfield player is expected to always score. A keeper may decide to stand tall and wait in the middle of the goal and hope the player taking the spot kick has a weak shot, or they may decide to dive to their right or left.

We can say they dive low to their right or dive low to their left. The phrase has the verb phrase ‘dive low‘ and the direction with ‘their’, so ‘to their right‘ or ‘to their left‘.

The hero for Spain was their keeper, Simon, who made two saves. Here is describing the saves – the first one: “A slight stutter in the defender’s run does not fool the goalkeeper, who dives low to his right to stop the kick.” And the second, “The Newcastle defender delays his kick to try and force Unai Simón into committing, but the goalkeeper stands firm and dives low to this right to stop the penalty.

Stinger: You are listening to (in Icelandic).

Good Bye

DB: Yes, you are listening to and that was in Icelandic. Right, that brings us to the end of this short football language podcast. We looked at the shootout between Spain and Switzerland with the phrases shootout, send the keeper wrong way, roof of the net, and dive low to the left/right.

Drop us a line anytime at Remember, you can read the transcript for the show by coming along to our website at Enjoy all the football. 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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Euro 2020Episode 986