Starting XI

starting xiFor this week’s English for football phrase, we discuss the word ‘starting XI’.

  • Find out more about this phrase by listening to the phrase and reading the transcript below.
  • 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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Most football teams have a squad of about 25 players but only 11 of these can start a game and so the team that a manager picks for a match is known as the starting XI. The phrase is sometimes written simply as XI in the media – in Latin, the symbol X refers to ten and I to the number 1 so XI means eleven. The phrase starting XI can be interchanged with the word ‘team’ as in the starting XI for Saturday’s game was named by the manager the day before.

  • Example: Rooney was omitted from the starting XI after a bust-up with the manager.
  • Example: It appears that the manager does not know his best starting XI much to the frustration of the supporters.

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