Weekly Football Phrase: Capitalise on an error

capitaliseWhat is the meaning of the phrase ‘Capitalise on an error’ in football? You can find out more about this phrase by reading the transcript below and you can also find many more examples of soccer vocabulary by going to our football cliches page here and our huge football glossary here.

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Capitalise on an error

When a team makes a mistake in a game the opponents can often benefit or capitalise on this mistake (or error). For example, if a team loses the ball near their own penalty area then the opposing team might be able to score a goal – they would have capitalised on the team’s error to score a goal. We can also use the phrase ‘to capitalise on‘ when describing a team benefiting from another team’s error or slip up. So, for example, if the teams in second and third place in the league fail to win and the leaders do then we say they have capitalised on their opponents’ slip up. To capitalise on an error.

  • Example: Juventus capitalised on an error in the Bayern defence to open the scoring.
  • Example: The leaders capitalised on the chasing pack who all drew by winning away at their rivals.

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  • Hello Damian. In the following sentence is just “capitalise” with no preposition “on”. So, what does “capitalise” mean here?

    GOAL Everton 1-1 Liverpool (45+1 mins). Romelu Lukaku capitalises, firing in after Liverpool fail to clear Deulofeu’s cross.

    • To capitalise on something means to benefit from something (for example a mistake), while to capitalise without the preposition means to either use a capital letter or to convert to money (capital) (according to Webster’s dictionary). Therefore, in the above example, I think the preposition ‘on’ may have been omitted (…Lukaku capitalises (on the error), firing in after …). I hope that helps somewhat!

Football Phrase 2016Episode 10