Unstoppable Header: Learning English Through Football Podcast: 2021-22 Season – Crystal Palace v Liverpool

In this short football language podcast for learners of English who love the beautiful game, we look at ways to describe Virgil Van Dijk’s headed goal against Crystal Palace in the Premier League. 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 admin@languagecaster.com.

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Unstoppable Header: Learning English Through Football Podcast: 2021-22 Season – Crystal Palace v Liverpool

DF: Hello everyone, this is Damian from the Languagecaster.com team – the podcast for all fans of football who want to improve their English skills – I hope you are all doing well. I am in London and am watching some Premier League football this weekend and I heard some nice language that described the opening goal from Liverpool’s Virgil Van Dijk against Crystal Palace. So, on this short podcast we’ll take a look at the phrases, ‘unstoppable header‘; ‘unsave-able‘ and ‘bullet header‘.

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

Unstoppable header

So, on the radio, the commentator described this header from Van Dijk as unstoppable, that is, no keeper could stop this header on goal as it had so much power. In fact, he went on to say that even if there had been two keepers they would not have stopped the header such was the power. We can also hear this adjective ‘unstoppable‘ when describing a shot and even sometimes to describe a team; one that is playing so well that no one can stop them winning.

Un-saveable

Van Dijk peels off to the front post and meets Robertson’s excellent delivery with a thumping, un-saveable header that crashes into the top corner (Guardian.co.uk, Jan 23 2022)
In this report from The Guardian newspaper, the writer describes the header as ‘un-saveable‘ which means that it was such a good header that no keeper would be able to save it. Of course, we could also hear this phrase being used to describe a really hard or well placed shot that beats a keeper.

In the rest of this report we can see how the Liverpool defender Van Dijk has created space for himself – he has peeled off to the front post which means he has moved towards the front of the goal (the front post) away from the opposition defenders where he can head the ball. The newspaper describes the way the player heads the ball as ‘meeting the delivery‘; the delivery is the cross from his team mate and so if a player meets a centre or cross it means that they connect with the ball; they head the ball. So, Van Dijk meets the delivery from his teammate which the newspaper describes as a thumping, unsave-able header. To thump a shot means to hit the ball really hard and so a thumping header is a really powerful header that crashes into the net – it has hit the back of the net with full force and so of course no keeper can save it. Now, another way of describing a powerful headed effort on goal is ‘bullet header‘ which is one that has full force – it travels so fast it is like a speeding bullet and the keeper cannot stop it.

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

Good Bye

DF: Yes, you are listening to languagecaster.com – that message was in Irish. Don’t forget that there’s a transcript to this podcast and lots of vocabulary support which you can access by coming along to our site. We also have a football language forum where fans of football can ask and answer questions on all kinds of football language – come along and join in the football language discussion.

OK, that’s it for this week’s podcast in which we looked at some phrases connected to Virgil Van Dijk’s header – unstoppable, unsave-able and bullet header. Don’t forget you can also come and find lots more football language on our site here at languagecaster.com. Enjoy all the football this week and we’ll see you again soon. Bye bye.

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Learn English Through FootballWelcome to the website that helps students interested in football improve their English language skills. Football fans can practise with lots of free language resources, including football-language podcasts and our huge football-language glossary.

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