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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

THE WORD'S WORTH: Terms for Football Fans To Try Kicking Around




The problem with working for a newspaper that adheres to the American language is that you have to use the word "soccer."


Except in Russian.


???∞?..., ???∞?..., ???∞?.... Football, football, football. That feels better.


With the European Championship in full gear, here are a few basics before we get to more complex ???∞?... sentences such as ?∞??_Ж? ?_L...ЃЃ ?-ЃL?Ж...Ж ? ?∞??_?© ??Ж_-ЃЃ ?*??Ѓ?_Ж? ?????- ?? ??*??? 6-0 f England beat France 6-0 to win the European Championship.


We can dream, can't we?


The Russian footballing lexicon is a simple thing, and since commentators and football journalists are simple things, they like to use the same words over and over again, so once you know a few, you can get pretty far.


Starting with the players, we have a 1-1-1-1 formation beginning with the ??Ж?Ж?", or goalie; the "Ж?Ѓ?_ЃЩ, defender (which, as in English, comes from the verb defense, "Ж?Ѓ?Ж?"); the ??...?"Ж?Ѓ?_ЃЩ, midfielder; and _Ж?ЖІЖ"?Ѓ©, attacker (from the verb attack, _Ж?ЖІЖ?"). Then to the men in black: There is the ??І"? f referee f which also means judge, and ??І"? _Ж ...Ѓ_ЃЃ, a judge on the line, or linesman.


There is a host of words that are understandable without translation: ?Ж? for pass; Ж?ЖЩЖ, attack; Щ?_??Ж?ЖЩЖ for counterattack; ?*_Ж..."?Ѓ, penalty; ?...Ж_L or flank, as in left right flank. ???Ж©І, or offside, is also used, but the more usual term is ?_* ЃL?-, which literally means outside the game. A worried fan once called me up to complain that the term was not good enough and that another was needed. (Suggestions welcome.)


Those are the people on the field; now for a tour around the pitch. My favorite word is ??Ж_LЖ for post, which also means crossbar and sounds as if someone has just whacked the ball against the noun. ?????Ж, or goal f it also means gates f is one of those sneaky nouns that is always in the plural. For example, ??Ж?Ж?" ∞???Ѓ... ??? ? ???Ѓ ?????Ж f the goalie threw the ball into his own goal. ?L...???© is an easy one f corner f and 11-?*????-© is another phrase for the penalty spot.


More important for walking in on a match playing on Euro 2000 is "?ЖЩ?© ?????" or What's the score? The answers are pretty obvious, except for _Ѓ?"?, meaning a draw.


During the game, you can express your disapproval at a ??..., or foul, with a cry of ???∞Ѓ?_! or dirty player, or ??*??І! to encourage your team on. The foul should get a ???Ж?_?©, or free kick, derived from the word ???Ж?, fine.


But do remember that knowing the words is sometimes not enough. I remember how I once phoned Dynamo Kiev in passable Russian for a quote on some story. Looking down the list of officials, I thought I'd go for the top; I patiently asked to speak to the club president, Valery Pustovoitenko. It was only then that the patient secretary on the other end of the line explained that Pustovoitenko was busy at the moment f as he was currently also prime minister of Ukraine.