32 international football words and phrases to learn for the World Cup

By The Newsroom
Friday, 4th May 2018, 11:57 am
Updated Friday, 4th May 2018, 1:37 pm

With the World Cup around the corner, it's time to get a grasp of each competing nations' football talk with a word or phrase from the 32 countries who will travel to Russia this summer, thanks to Tom Williams and his book 'Do you Speak Football?'

Argentina - pecho frío

The phrase refers to those cold-chested players who go missing at the big moments or when the going gets tough. Not a player you would want beside you in the trenches.

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    Australia - shoot farken

    F***ing shoot! The words were swapped around by immigrants from southern Europe who came to Australia. They picked up the nuances of profanity quickly but didn't quite grasp sentence structure. It is now a popular phrase in the country as a whole.

    Belgium - buffelstoot

    Ball comes into the box, Maroaune Fellaini rises and thwacks a header past the goalkeeper. The 'buffalo push' is a towering header.

    Brazil - ficar sem pai nem mãe

    Quite a morbid expression, suggesting a player is left without a mother or a father. Yet, that's what happens when a player is roundly beaten by his opponent, namely a full-back being run ragged by a winger.

    Colombia - bartolo

    The defensive clogger who unashamedly takes no risks and is happy to get rid of the ball by thumping it up the field with little or no grace.

    Costa Rica - milpa

    If Sir Alex Ferguson was Costa Rican he would have said that Filippo Inzaghi was born in a milpa or cornfield. It traces back to the 1940s when the Estadio Nacional was unfinished with no stand behind one of the goals. Instead the space was used to grow radishes, tomatoes and corn.

    Croatia - djelitelj pravde

    In almost every football playing country in the world referees are referred to in derogative terms. In Croatia, however, they sound like superheroes, djelitelj pravde translating to dispenser of justice. It is a fitting description of Mike Dean who will unfortunately not be at the World Cup.

    Denmark - kattepote

    The Laudrup brothers, Brian and Michael, Preben Elkjær Larsen and Jan Molby could be said to have possessed a cat's paw. Christian Eriksen is the latest Dane to have that delicate touch.

    Egypt - kora sharab

    It is the game played on the streets, in the alley, in schools where Egyptian players hone their skills. It means socks ball and players are required to produce trickery and skill.

    England - bouncebackability

    Coined by Iain Dowie, the word, which means the capacity to recover quickly from a setback, made it's way into the Oxford Dictionary. England will likely need to show just that this summer, more so than they did against Iceland.

    France - sortie kamikaze

    This phrase holds particular relevance in France. After all it was France's Patrick Battiston who was assaulted by German goalkeeper on Toni Schumacher in the 1982 World Cup semi-final when the latter exited his goal. Battiston was left unconscious with broken ribs and teeth knocked out.

    Germany - angstgegner

    For Germany it is Italy. For England it is Germany. For Scotland it is everyone. The bogey team you just don't want to face.

    Iceland - klobbi

    Every country has their own word for a nutmeg. Iceland's translates to crotching. Ouch.

    Iran - grassrolling

    This doesn't simply refer to just the diving but the aftermath where the players writhes on the ground. The English spelling is due to the word coming from online message boards.

    Japan - mukan no teiō

    The uncrowned emperor is the talented player who has never won a trophy. Think Matt Le Tissier.

    Mexico - La Ola

    Since 1986 it has become a staple of World Cup tournaments, the infamous Mexican Wave. In Mexico it is simply known as La Ola.

    Morocco - khawya f amra

    At the World Cup Morocco will come up against Portugal and Cristiano Ronaldo's double-stepover. In Morocco it is known as one empty, one full.

    Nigeria - Dundee United

    That's not a typo. In parts of the country Dundee United is a synonym for 'idiot', owing to the club's tour of Nigeria in 1972 which was a disaster on and off the field.

    Panama - quechón

    The quechón is the striker who waits for the ball to come to him like the catcher in baseball.

    Peru - amarrabola

    The Peruvians have a more romantic notion of a ball-hog. Rather than castigate players for their greed, they are known as ball lovers.

    Poland - grecque

    In Britain it is known as the Poznan, when fans turn their back on the action and jump up and down in unison. It was brought to these shores by Lech Poznan who played Manchester City in European competition. In its homeland it is known as the grecque.

    Portugal - brinca na areia

    Those players who 'play in the sand' are said to have great skill but no end product.

    Russia - gorísh

    If fans travelling to Russia find themselves in a match with locals, gorish is a great word to know. Translated it means 'you're burning', it is a warning that you are being closed down by an opponent.

    Saudi Arabia - yaseed hamaam

    In Saudi Arabia, if you send a shot sailing over the bar you are seen to be hunting for pigeons.

    Senegal - butou taate

    The buttocks goal is when a goalkeeper allows a shot to go through his legs.

    Serbia - Zmaj

    Zmaj is a mythical Slavic dragon and in Serbian football parlance it is reserved for speedsters, whether it be a winger, a forward or full-back.

    South Korea - jeonseol-eh pocketmon

    Talented but injured players are labelled legendary Pokémon. Skilled but hard to find.

    Spain - cagómetro

    The crapping-yourself-ometer comes into effect when teams begin feeling the pressure. Not too dissimilar to 'squeaky-bum-time'.

    Sweden - blåbärslag

    A blueberry team is one which is either inexperienced or incompetent. Or both. There will be plenty of opportunity to use the term this summer.

    Switzerland - uuschügele

    When a team uuschügeles, out-marbles, an opponent it means they have cut through them with a quick and incisive passing move.

    Tunisia - jbed bih

    "JBED BIH!" It has to be said in an excitable manner. It's the Tunisian equivalent of 'he's done him!'

    Uruguay - garra charrúa

    The charrúa claw is the grit and fighting spirit which the Uruguayans are known for and helped them to two World Cup wins and 15 Copa America victories.

    Do You Speak Football? by Tom Williams and published by Bloomsbury Sport is available to buy now.