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(to) Sink – football Language Podcast – 2021-22 Season

On this short football language podcast we look at some football language to talk about what match results mean, including ‘to sink’. The focus is a Guardian report on Sheffield Wednesday’s playoff match against Sunderland.  The transcript for this podcast is available below, and you can also check out our massive glossary of footballing phrases here. Visit our site to access all our previous posts and podcasts, and if you have any suggestions or questions please contact us at or leave a question or comment on our forum. (DB=Damon)

(to) Sink – football Language Podcast – 2021-22 Season

DB: Hi there everyone. Welcome to this is the show for all those interested in learning English and who love the beautiful game – football.

My name’s Damon. I’m based in Tokyo, which at the moment is enjoying a bit of sun after a few rainy days. Damian, the other half of the team, is in London. I wonder how he feels after the team he supports, Tottenham Hotspur, drew with my team, Liverpool this weekend. It was a cagey affair, with Tottenham waiting to hit Liverpool on the counter, and The Reds, Liverpool, trying to break down Spurs’ defence.

The draw certainly dented Liverpool’s hopes of winning the league. To dent a team’s hopes is to make their chance of winning something, a league or cup, smaller.

In today’s short podcast, we take a look at some similar words related to results and how they affect a team’s chances or league position.

Stinger: You are listening to (in Swahili).

DB: Yes, you are listening to and that message was in Swahili. Thank you Kisaisa!

(to) Sink

Right, let’s kick off and we’re looking at some language in a Guardian report (May 2022) on a play off game between Sunderland and Sheffield Wednesday – The Black Cats versus The Owls. Here is the headline:

Roberts sinks Sheffield Wednesday and sends Sunderland to Wembley

The verbs we are interested in are ‘sink’ and ‘send to’. 

Roberts sinks Sheffield Wednesday – the goal scored by Sunderland player Roberts was the decisive goal, it made the score 2-1 over two legs. The first match was 1-0 to Sunderland and in the return leg, the return match, Sheffield United were winning 1-0 until Roberts’ equaliser made it 1-1 on the night and 2-1 overall. 

Sunderland beat Sheffield United, meaning The Owls have to stay down in League 1. They don’t go up to the Championship. ‘Sink’ usually means go down, so go down a division, be relegated, but here the headline just means that Sheffield United have to stay down in League 1. 

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(to) Send

The next verb, Roberts sends Sunderland to Wembley, means Robert’s goal means Sunderland progress, go to the next play off game at Wembley. A goal or result can send a team through to the next round, or send them to where the match will be played. For example, Real Madrid’s victory against PSG in the last 16 of the Champions League tie sent them through to the quarter finals. Here is how Sky Sport used the verb in a headline: “Karim Benzema hat-trick sends PSG crashing out of Champions League”.

Here the player and the player’s hat-trick, three goals, sent his team through to the next round. The goals also sank PSG’s hopes of progress – they sent them crashing out of the competition.

Stinger: You are listening to (Korean).

Thanks for that message in Korean.

So, players, goals and performances can send a team to a final or through to the next round. Goals, players, and performances can also sink another team’s hopes of progress, and may stop them being promoted or even send them down a league.

Good Bye

DB: OK, we looked at Sunderland’s win in the league One play offs against Sheffield Wednesday. They will now face Wycombe Wanderers. I wonder who will score the goal or goals to send their team to the Championship?

Enjoy all the football wherever you are. We’ll be back next week with more football language. Check out our site, follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, just look for Languagecaster. And remember, there’s a transcript to this show on our site, along with loads more podcasts and hundreds of football phrases. 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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