Spanish Football Vocabulary

Fútbol (soccer) is by far the most popular sport in the Spanish-speaking world. If you want to make small talk, this is a topic you probably won't be able to avoid.

football - soccer football - soccer

You might already be familiar with the classic long gooooooooooooooooool of Spanish soccer commentators, but it's still a good idea to learn a few more football-related words and expressions. You'll surely find yourself drawing on that knowledge quite often during casual conversations!

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The Basics

Before we move on to some common phrases you can use to chat with Spanish speakers, let's go over some basic vocabulary you'll need to know. We've divided these words into themed sections so you'll be able to find things more quickly. That said, keep in mind that fútbol vocabulary can have some local variations so, even though we've tried to use more "neutral" terms, you might find some variations as you speak with fans from different places.

On the Pitch

El campo/La cancha

Field/Pitch

El terreno de juego

Field

El arco/La meta/La portería

Goal

La red

Net

El poste/El palo

Goalpost

El travesaño

Crossbar

El área penal/El área grande

Penalty area

El área chica

Goal area

La medialuna

The penalty arch

El punto penal

Penalty spot

El círculo central

Center circle

El punto central

Center spot

El medio campo

Midfield

El banco

Bench

The Team

El equipo

Team

La alineación

Line up

El jugador

Player

El futbolista

Football player

El golero/arquero/portero/guardameta

Goalkeeper

El delantero

Forward/Striker

El goleador

Goal scorer

El mediocampista/volante

Midfielder

El enganche/mediapunta

Playmaker

El defensa/defensor

Defender

El líbero

Sweeper

El central/zaguero

Center back

El lateral izquierdo/derecho

Left/right back

El capitán

Captain

El técnico/El DT

Coach

Gameplay

El árbitro/referí

Referee

El línea

The linesman

El (saque) lateral

Throw-in

El tiro de esquina/El corner

Corner

El tiro libre

Free kick

El penal/penalti

Penalty

El gol

Goal

El golazo

A really good goal

El gol en contra

Own goal

El gol del empate

Equalizer

Marcar un gol/Meter un gol

To score

La tarjeta roja/amarilla

Red/yellow card

La falta

Foul

La mano

Handball

La expulsión

Sending off

El cabezazo

Header

El rebote

Rebound

El pase

Pass

El pelotazo (largo)

Long ball

El remate/disparo/tiro

Shot

El rechazo

Clearance

La atajada

Save

El taco

Back heel kick

El caño

Nutmeg

La chilena

Bicycle kick

Fuera de lugar/Offside

Offside

El mediotiempo/entretiempo

Halftime

El primer/segundo tiempo

First/Second half

El tiempo suplementario

Extra time

La sustitución

Substitution

El marcador

Scoreboard

El resultado final

Final score

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Other vocabulary

La pelota/El balón

Ball

La canillera

Shinguard

La camiseta

Jersey

El short/El pantalón corto

Shorts

Los botines

Shoes

El silbato

Whistle

El comentarista

Commentator

El hincha

Fan

La hinchada/afición

Supporters

Ganar

To win

La victoria

Win

Perder

To lose

La derrota

Loss

Empatar

To tie

El empate

Tie

El partido

Game

El partidazo

A really good game

Join the Conversation

Once you're familiar with fútbol's basic rules and vocabulary, you might want to join in the conversation. Here are some useful expressions you can learn so you don't feel left out when the topic comes up:

Discussing the Game

  • ¿Viste el partido (de ayer)? - Did you see (yesterday's) match?
  • ¿Cómo te parece que saldrá el partido? - What do you think will be the score for the game?
  • ¿Quiénes juegan hoy? - Who is playing today?
  • ¿A qué hora es el partido? - What time is the game on?
  • ¿Dónde pasan el partido? - What channel is the game on?
  • ¿Crees que podremos ganar? - Do you think we will win?
  • ¿Qué te parece el equipo que eligió el técnico? - What do you think about the team the coach chose?

Cheers and Praise

  • ¡Qué partidazo/golazo! - What a game/goal!
  • ¡Vamos! - Come on!
  • ¡Qué jugador! - What a player!
  • Si seguimos jugando así, nadie nos gana. - If we keep playing like this, no one will beat us.
  • Me encanta cómo juega ese delantero. - I love how that striker plays.
  • Cómo juega Messi, es increible. - Messi is such a good player, it's incredible.
  • Tenemos un equipazo. - We have a great team.
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Complaining about the Match

  • Ese árbitro está comprado. - That referee is bent.
  • El partido está arreglado. - The match is fixed
  • ¡Nos robaron! - We were robbed!
  • ¡Eso no fue falta! - That wasn't a fault!
  • ¡Fuera de juego, árbitro! - Offside, referee!
  • ¿Está ciego? - Is he blind?
  • Qué mal estamos jugando. - We're really struggling (Literally: we're playing so badly).
  • ¡Qué partido aburrido! - What a boring game!
  • Así no le ganamos a nadie. - We won't beat anyone like that.

Fútbol is a huge part of many Spanish speakers' social life, so learning how to talk about it will surely put you on their good side. Study this vocabulary and watch a couple of matches in Spanish so you can feel comfortable joining the conversation. Who knows, you might even end up catching the fútbol bug yourself!