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2018 World Cup – learn how to shout at the ref in any language!

2018 World Cup – learn how to shout at the ref in any language!
Home » Blog » Languages » 2018 World Cup – learn how to shout at the ref in any language!

The FIFA world cup has just kicked off. The beauty of this football tournament is you never know what might happen. Germany took the trophy away four years ago – but who will be triumphant this time?


Whether it’s cheering for the underdog or appreciating true talent, football brings the whole world together. It also highlights that no matter where we are, we largely watch football in the same way: by screaming at the television.


To enhance your enjoyment of the World Cup this year, we thought we’d helpfully give you a few essential football idioms, plus some translated words and phrases, so that you can use the appropriate insults and impress everyone around you. Or you can take free online classes and learn a bit more than just the insults. 

“Nettoyer les toiles d’araignées” (French)

This translates as ‘to clean the cobwebs’, but refers to a powerful kick which shoots past the goalkeeper and into the back of the net.

“Píntalo De Amarillo” (Spanish)

If you hear fans yelling this, they are actually saying: ‘paint him yellow’. This refers to urging the referee to dispense a yellow card.

“Chocoladebeen” (Dutch)

This charming term means ‘chocolate leg’ and describes the player’s weakest foot/leg, i.e. using the left foot of a right-footed player

“Lissepasning” (Norwegian)

This lovely word refers to a ‘shoe lace pass’, one which has such accuracy, it practically reaches the shoelaces of its intended recipient. Sheer perfection.

“Strumprullare” (Swedish)

The literal translation – ‘sock roller’ – isn’t too far off the actual meaning, which describes where a player goes to shoot, but the ball rolls down their shin and over their foot. How embarrassing!

“Notbremse” (German)

This means ‘emergency brake’ and refers to the act of fouling the player who has the ball to ensure they can’t get through.

“Grande cepo” (Portuguese)

Uh-oh, no footballer wants to have this term slung in their direction. Translating as ‘big tree-trunk’ or block of wood, it refers to a really bad player.

“Kiviä taskuun” (Finnish)

In Finland, someone who falls over far too easily could hear ‘Kiviä taskuun!’ shouted at them. This poetically translates as someone who has stones in their pocket.

“Ballen er rud” (Norwegian)

And finally, returning to Norway, this idiom arguably sums up every single football match ever played. It translates as ‘the ball is round’ and infers that anything can happen, as the ball is round and impossible to predict.

Remember, whether your team wins or loses, keep with the Russian spirit and stay supportive of your favourite team. As they say “С русской сборной навсегда – хоть победа, хоть беда! (S russkoy sbornoy navsegda, hot’ pobeda, hot’ beda!) – which means “With the Russian team forever – in victory or defeat!”.

Armed with these essential phrases, you’re now fully equipped to watch the the tournament with the requisite excitement/agony it deserves – “ce n’est qu’un jeu!”

If you would like to chat to Brightlines about our translation services, please call 01225 580770 or click here for a quote. We are happy to help, and advice is always free.