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Weekly Football Phrase

Every week during the 2010-11 season, the languagecaster team explain a football phrase or cliché for learners of English who love the sport. Click on the link below to hear the word or phrase and you can also read the transcript below that. You can find many more examples by going to our football phrase page here football clichés here and our huge football glossary here.

Listen here: To hold the ball up

This week’s English for football is to hold the ball up. To hold the ball means to keep the ball, and to hold the ball up means to keep the ball until your team has time to come forwards in support. Usually the job of holding the ball up is given to a lone striker – playing alone up front – who is tall and powerful, strong enough to keep the ball away from the central defenders. Generally, a long ball is played to the lone striker who controls it with his or her back to the goal and passes it to a supporting player. This tactic is used when the team is under pressure and cannot play the ball through the midfield. This week in the Champions League last 16 second round game between Barcelona and Arsenal, the London side used Van Persie to hold the ball up, but when he was sent off they had no-one to hold the ball up and were easily beaten.
Example: ‘Van Persie possesses a howitzer of a left foot, can link play beautifully and has also learned to hold the ball up more effectively…’ worldsoccer.about.com

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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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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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