Football Commentator Confusion

Football commentators have been in the news recently for all the wrong reasons but traditionally they have a reputation for using language which sometimes even native speakers not interested in football can find difficult to understand. Here is an invented but typical example from the half time analysis of a match. See if you can understand it and use the glossary below if necessary. “They’ve been on a good run recently, a real winning streak, and that’s down to Jones being on fire over the last three games and he’s playing out of his skin again today. The opposition don’t look that strong on paper but they’ve played their hearts out so far, really run themselves into the ground, and you can’t help feeling they haven’t got the rub of the green in the first half what with referee turning down a stonewall penalty appeal and then missing that sitter just before the break – I mean my gran could have scored that one! At the end of the day, though, it’s a game of two halves so it’s still early doors.” How about in your country, are there any particular groups of people or professions which are famous for being difficult to understand?


  • To be on a good run or to be on a winning streak means that the team have done well in recent games
  • To be on fire or to play out of your skin means to play very, very well
  • To look strong on paper means ‘in theory the team is good’ but maybe not in practice
  • To play your heart out or to run yourself into the ground means to try very, very hard
  • To get the rub of the green means to be lucky
  • To turn down a stonewall penalty means the referee did not give a very obvious penalty
  • To miss a sitter means to not score a goal when it was a very easy chance
  • My gran is my grandmother
  • At the end of the day is a phrase used to summarise or conclude an idea
  • A game of two halves is commonly used to say that things can always change
  • Early doors means it is still early in the game so again there is still time for things to change

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