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Weekly Football Phrase: Half-chance

This week introduces the English for football phrase ‘half chance’. You can understand more about this phrase by reading the transcript below. Check out our glossary of footballing phrases here and if you have any suggestions or questions then contact us at

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The word chance is used in football to describe the possibility of scoring a goal, so for example, the team created many chances (or openings). A clear-cut chance is where the forward is expected to score, so maybe she/he is clear on goal in a one-on-one situation with the goalkeeper. In this case the fans feel she/he should score whereas with a half-chance, which is much more difficult – perhaps a shot from distance – the fans may be more sympathetic if the player misses. Of course if a player scores with a half-chance she/he is seen as a very good player with an eye for goal. Over the weekend West Ham played a very defensive game against their rivals and restricted Tottenham to half-chances; they did not allow Tottenham to have any clear chances to score.

Check out more football phrases by visiting our huge glossary page, where you can find hundreds of words, phrases and cliches connected to the world of football. If there is a phrase you need explaining send us a comment or email at we will try to explain it for you.

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