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Stonewall Pen – Football Language: Season 2021-22

This football language podcast features language from the Atlético Madrid versus Liverpool match, including the phrase stonewall pen. You can read the transcript for this podcast below, and you can also access 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 please contact us at or leave a question or comment on our forum. (DB=Damon)

Stonewall Pen – Football Language: Season 2021-22

DB: You’re listening to’s football language podcast.  Hello everyone, my name’s Damon, one half of the Languagecaster team. and you’ve reached the place to be for all things related to football language. This podcast series and our site is a great place to come if you want to improve your English while also talking about the beautiful game – football. On today’s show, we’ll focus on some language used to talk abut the Atlético Madrid versus Liverpool Champions League group stage match played this week – and we’ll start with stonewall pen.

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Stinger: You are listening to (in Spanish).

Stonewall Pen

DB: Thank you for that message, which was in Spanish. Right, let’s kick off with our first phrase, which is stonewall pen. Now, in the Atlético Madrid versus Liverpool game there were two penalty shouts, one to Liverpool, which was given, and one to Atlético, which was first given and then overturned. A penalty shout, is a claim for a penalty.

The first penalty shout was a stonewall penalty or, to sound a bit more causal, we can reduce penalty to pen, a stonewall pen.

So, what is  a stonewall pen? Well it means a definite penalty, a clear penalty with no doubt. So if there is a penalty shout and it is a stonewall pen, the referee will give the penalty, award the penalty, quickly and without needing to think. Here is a comment from a reader on a CBS Sport match report:

Alexander-Arnold thumps one high into the box. Hermoso just runs straight at Jota, barging into him. A stonewall spot kick.

Embed from Getty Images

They use spot kick instead of pen or penalty, but the meaning is the same. A clear penalty.

Seen them given

DB: The next penalty shout in the match was by Atletico Madrid, as they claimed a penalty when Atléti’s defender Gimenez went down after contact with Jota. The ref gave it, but VAR asked him to check his decision. After looking at the monitor, he overturned, he cancelled, his first decision.

Now, I’m a Liverpool fan, so I was very happy, but I’ve seen them given. This phrase means, while not a clear penalty, these penalty shouts are sometimes given; it would not be a surprise. I think most people would say they’ve seen them given for Atléti’s penalty shout.

Went down too easily

DB: The referee probably thought that there was not enough contact between Jota and Gimenez, that Gimnez went down too easily. If you go down too easily, you are deliberately using contact to try to win a free kick or a penalty. You are trying to con the ref, cheat the ref.

So, in this match, we saw a Liverpool penalty shout given or awarded by the ref, it was stonewall pen. Atleti’s penalty shout was overturned, cancelled, even though we’ve seen them given. The referee thought Gimenez had gone down too easily and was trying to con him.

Stinger: You are listening to (Al-Hilal SC fan).

Good Bye

DB: Yes, you are listening to and thank you Ahmed Adam from Sudan! Right, that brings us to the end of this short football language podcast. Remember these phrases – Penalty shout, stonewall pen, award and overturn a penalty, seen them given, go down too easily and con the ref – all phrases to talk about this game.

Drop us a line anytime at You can read the transcript for the show on our website at and post on our forum! And if you like what we do, leave a donation to keep our site up and running at, you’ve got, Enjoy all the football. Ta-ra!

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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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