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    Football words and expressions beginning with M and N

    Feedback gratefully accepted below:
    Magic sponge (the)- When players were in pain, a trainer used to come out with a bucket of water and a sponge. Amazingly, this often lead to the player getting up and starting to play again, hence “magic”
    Magic spray- A modern version of the MAGIC SPONGE
    Majority of possession- Your players having the ball more than the other team. See POSSESSION
    Man on- Shouted to tell someone that they are in danger of being tackled
    Man short (a)- Playing with ten men, because one player received a RED CARD
    Man to man marking- A system in which each defender is given one attacking player from the other team that they have to stay close to. The opposite of ZONAL MARKING
    Manager- Traditionally, someone who is in charge of picking a team, deciding on tactics, and buying and selling players, one level higher in management than a COACH.
    Marking- Staying close to an attacking player to make sure they can’t get the ball or can’t PASS or SHOOT if they have it
    Match fit- Fit and healthy enough to play in a COMPETITIVE GAME. Often used negatively for a player who was injured and has recovered but hasn’t trained enough to be able to play effectively.
    Match of the Day- Traditionally the most popular English football show on TV
    Match winner- The goal that meant that your team won the match, e.g. the goal that took the score from 2-2 to 3-2. Collocations- Be responsible for the +. Also “match winning goal”
    Midfield anchor- Another way to say DEFENSIVE MIDFIELDER
    Midfield diamond- A formation in which the four MIDFIELD players play with two side by side and the other two on their own in front and behind
    Midfielder- A player who plays near the centre of the pitch, between the DEFENDERs and the STRIKERs
    Mid-table- Not near the top or bottom of the DIVISION
    Mid-table obscurity- A team that is always in the middle of the DIVISION, e.g. because they often draw, and are therefore never in the dramatic situation of being likely to be PROMOTED to a higher division or RELEGATED to a lower one
    Minnow- A small or weak team, named after a small fish that is common in British ponds
    Misdirect a pass- See MISPLACE A PASS
    Misplace a pass- PASS the ball to the wrong place, e.g. to an OPPOSING player or to somewhere the player it is meant for can’t possibly run to
    Mistimed tackle- Trying to tackle someone before or after they have the ball, usually leading to a FOUL. Usually means a LATE TACKLE
    MOTD- Short written form of MATCH OF THE DAY
    Movement off the ball- Moving around even when someone else has the ball, e.g. MOVING INTO SPACE so that someone can pass the ball to you
    Moving into space- Running into a place on the pitch where there are no OPPOSITION players, making it easy to pass the ball to you
    National side- A common expression for the NATIONAL TEAM. The opposite of CLUB SIDE
    National stadium- The usual venue for CUP FINALS, INTERNATIONAL MATCHES etc, e.g. WEMBLEY in the UK
    National team- The team that represents the whole country, e.g. the teams that compete in the WORLD CUP
    Near post- The post nearest to the person who is going to SHOOT, PASS, take a CORNER or take a FREE KICK
    Net- The mesh that is almost always put behind the goal, connected to the CROSSBAR and POSTs then connected to the ground in some way behind. Often used to talk about scoring a goal, e.g. “in the BACK OF THE NET”
    Netting- The material that the NET at the back of the goal is made from. Often mentioned to say that a CROSS hit the side of the goal, meaning that “hit the netting” which is bad thing, is very different from “GO INTO THE BACKOF THE NET”, which is a goal
    Neutral venue- A stadium that is not the HOME GROUND of either side, used because there has been crowd violence or because the political situation makes it impossible to play in one of the home grounds
    Neutralize- Make sure that a threatening team or player is actually not a danger, e.g. by good MAN TO MAN MARKING or by using the right FORMATION
    Next round (the)- The part of the championship that you will progress to if you win a match, e.g. the SEMI-FINALS if you win the QUARTER FINALS
    Niggling fouls- Very small fouls, which are more likely to annoy than to lead to a YELLOW CARD
    Niggling injury- An injury that is never very painful and doesn’t completely stop you from playing, but means you can never play to your best
    Nil- The normal British way to say “zero”, as in “two nil” for 2-0
    No score draw- The final score being 0-0. Sometimes jokingly called a “no score bore”
    Non-league side- In England, teams which are lower than the Second Division and so cannot play in the LEAGUE CUP until they are PROMOTED
    Nutmeg- Kick the ball through the legs of a player
    Index of all the different letters here:

  2. BobK's Avatar
    Harmless drudge
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    Re: Football words and expressions beginning with M and N

    The image at the origin of 'to nutmeg' may be quite obscure, particularly for people who have only met nutmeg in its ground form. But to people of a certain age, nutmegs were sold whole and were chopped in half before grating each half. I imagine the legs of the tackled player are the two halves of the nutmeg.

    Maybe there's a better explanation somewhere on the web...


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