World Cup terms to know

The 2018 FIFA World Cup is set to begin on Thursday in Russia — but do you know how to discuss “the beautiful game”?  

Certain terms may repeatedly pop up while watching coverage of the international soccer tournament over the next few weeks.

Read to discover a few words you may encounter and what they signify.

Cap: This is when a someone “plays for his national team in an international game,” Major League Soccer (MLS) explains online. 

Corner kick: The International Football Association Board (IFAB) says such a move is given out “when the whole of the ball passes over the goal line, on the ground or in the air, having last touched a player of the defending team, and a goal is not scored.”

Boots: A player’s soccer cleats.

Free kick: Viewers tuning in may see both indirect and direct free kicks during a competition, depending on the circumstances involved.  

“Direct and indirect free kicks and penalty kicks can only be awarded for offenses committed when the ball is in play,” the IFAB says. 

Header: This term describes when a player uses their head to maneuver the ball.

Kit: A player’s uniform, which may feature bright colors and designs. You can check out the kits for all 32 teams competing in the 2018 FIFA World Cup here.

Match: A soccer game.

Nutmeg: It’s a move that involves kicking a soccer ball through another person’s legs, according to MLS

Panenka: A way of making a penalty kick “in which the player, instead of kicking the ball directly into the goal, gives a subtle touch underneath the ball, causing it to rise and fall within the goal thus deceiving the goalkeeper,” MLS says.

Panini sticker books: An Italian collectibles company called Panini publishes sticker books, whose allure is similar to baseball or Pokemon cards — challenging fans to complete the set.

Each book has spots for 681 stickers depicting stadiums, players, host cities and other items. The stickers themselves are sold in packs of six.

Pitch: Another term for the soccer field.

Offside: “When a player is closer to the opponent’s goal than the ball or the penultimate defender,” the Washington Post explains.

Set piece: These can happen after play has stopped, the MLS team Orlando City Soccer Club says online.

Depending on the particular circumstances involved, a goal kick, corner kick, throw-in, free kick or a penalty kick can take place, during this time.

Throw-ins: This is when players throw the ball back onto the pitch. The IFAB explains online who gets to complete the move.

“A throw-in is awarded to the opponents of the player who last touched the ball when the whole of the ball passes over the touchline, on the ground or in the air,” it says.

Yellow card: Referees give these to players as warnings. If they get two yellow cards, they are automatically given a red card and kicked out of the game.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.   


We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.


Log in with your credentials

Forgot your details?