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Hard: On the back foot

Hard: On the back foot

Premier Vocabulary is a mini-podcast for you to learn football English one word at a time. We have three different levels for you: easy, medium and hard.

This episode is hard so we’re looking at more difficult football phrases and idioms.

Summary

Learn more football vocabulary with Premier Skills English. Each lesson in our Premier Vocabulary section looks at one football word or phrase. This lesson looks at the phrase on the back foot

You can find more lessons on the side of this page.

Transcript

Rich: Hello my name’s Rich and welcome to Premier Skills English - Premier Vocabulary.

Jack: Hi there! I’m Jack. We’re here to help you with your football English. 

Rich: Remember you can find transcripts for all of our podcasts on the Premier Skills English website.

Jack: Premier Vocabulary is a mini-podcast for you to learn football English one word at a time. 

Rich: We have three different levels for you: easy, medium and hard.

Jack: This episode is hard so we’re looking at more difficult football phrases and idioms. These phrases can be used to talk about football but are often useful when talking about other topics.


Rich: The phrase we are looking at in this episode is: on the back foot.

Jack: We’re going to look at how this idiom is used on the football pitch and outside of football.

Rich: It has the same meaning in both contexts but we’ll give you a couple of different examples.

Jack: Like most idioms on the back foot is an informal phrase and it basically means to be in a difficult position or at a disadvantage in some way.

Rich: Outside of sport we often hear the phrase when talking about politics, business and policing. Here are some examples we found from news reports:

Jack: Police have criminals on the back foot in the war on drugs. 

Rich: Britain on the back foot in second round of UK-Australia trade negotiations.

Jack: The economy ended 2019 on the back foot.

Rich: All of these examples show something or someone that is in a difficult situation.

Jack: A couple of strong collocations are to be put on the back foot and caught on the back foot. These are often used when something puts someone else in a difficult situation.

Rich: Fossil fuel businesses have been put on the back foot by the growth of renewable energies.

Jack: The phrase on the back foot actually comes from the sport of cricket. Batsmen can play on the back foot which is a defensive position or the front foot which is an attacking position.

Rich: We’ll look at the phrase on the front foot in another episode. Let’s look at how we use on the back foot when we’re talking about football.


Jack: In football, we use on the back foot when a team is being put under a lot of pressure from the opposition.

Rich: If a team is on the back foot they are struggling to defend and finding the match difficult. 

Jack: If a team gets a player sent off this will probably put the rest of the team on the back foot and they will have to defend a lot.

Rich: The team are at a disadvantage and in a difficult situation. They are on the back foot.

Jack: But sometimes teams can do this successfully. Here are some example sentences.

Rich: Although Leicester started brightly, they were soon on the back foot as United pushed forward.

Jack: Gareth Bale’s pace and exemplary touch put the reigning champions on the back foot as he scored a hat-trick.


Rich: There is the final whistle!

Jack: We’ll be back soon with more Premier Vocabulary from Premier Skills English.  

Rich: Bye for now and enjoy your football. 

Comment

Discuss

Which teams are going to be on the back foot this season?

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Komentar

Michaelsun
12/03/2022
CN
738
points

Norwich is going to be on the back foot this season.


Michaelsun
12/03/2022 04:30
China
Manchester United
738

Norwich is going to be on the back foot this season.

Gabriel Amaral's picture
Gabriel Amaral
24/05/2021
BR
1512
points

Sheffield United were on their back foot this season, althought their superb campaing at 2019-2020 season.


Gabriel Amaral's picture
Gabriel Amaral
24/05/2021 18:27
Brazil
Arsenal
1512

Sheffield United were on their back foot this season, althought their superb campaing at 2019-2020 season.

hsn's picture
hsn
04/02/2021
TR
5535
points

PHRASES

• He put his rival on the back foot when he made a perfect final move at the chess competition.

• A high number of labour caught on the back foot in this economic recession which is result of pandemic.

P.S.

Have you ever thought why " star" footballers got angry and show exaggerated reaction when they replaced during the match. Because they feel that the dream is going to be finished and they have mentally to be prepared for this situation.


hsn's picture
hsn
04/02/2021 16:45
Turkey
Tottenham Hotspur
5535

PHRASES

• He put his rival on the back foot when he made a perfect final move at the chess competition.

• A high number of labour caught on the back foot in this economic recession which is result of pandemic.

P.S.

Have you ever thought why " star" footballers got angry and show exaggerated reaction when they replaced during the match. Because they feel that the dream is going to be finished and they have mentally to be prepared for this situation.

Robert Tavares's picture
Robert Tavares
02/10/2020
BR
399
points

Hi folks!
I think that Fulham, West Brom and Brighton to be on the back foot this season. Maybe Southampton, Sheffield United and Burnley clash with them against the relegation to the championship.

See ya!


Robert Tavares's picture
Robert Tavares
02/10/2020 18:58
Brazil
Leeds United
399

Hi folks!
I think that Fulham, West Brom and Brighton to be on the back foot this season. Maybe Southampton, Sheffield United and Burnley clash with them against the relegation to the championship.

See ya!

Robert Tavares's picture
Robert Tavares
02/10/2020
BR
399
points

Hi there!
Can I use "on the back foot" as the same meaning of "in dire straits"?


Robert Tavares's picture
Robert Tavares
02/10/2020 18:47
Brazil
Leeds United
399

Hi there!
Can I use "on the back foot" as the same meaning of "in dire straits"?

admin's picture
admin
02/10/2020
GB
560
points

Hi Robert 

These phrases don't mean the same thing. In dire straits means in real danger. On the back foot is not as strong, it means to be put in a defensive position, but you wouldn't use it in really serious situations. You might say that a club is in dire straits when it is almost certain to be relegated and if all the best players are leaving and the club is in lots of debt and is in serious risk of closing down.

Thanks

Jack


admin's picture
admin
02/10/2020 20:12
United Kingdom
Arsenal
560

Hi Robert 

These phrases don't mean the same thing. In dire straits means in real danger. On the back foot is not as strong, it means to be put in a defensive position, but you wouldn't use it in really serious situations. You might say that a club is in dire straits when it is almost certain to be relegated and if all the best players are leaving and the club is in lots of debt and is in serious risk of closing down.

Thanks

Jack

Robert Tavares's picture
Robert Tavares
05/10/2020
BR
399
points

Hi Jack.
Thank you for the explanation.
I understand clearly now.
By the way, I would say that my club is on the back door, but in fact it's in dire straits. :(
See ya!


Robert Tavares's picture
Robert Tavares
05/10/2020 02:41
Brazil
Leeds United
399

Hi Jack.
Thank you for the explanation.
I understand clearly now.
By the way, I would say that my club is on the back door, but in fact it's in dire straits. :(
See ya!

admin's picture
admin
05/10/2020
GB
560
points

Your welcome Robert

It's good to support a struggling club. Well, it's exciting. 

Thanks

Jack


admin's picture
admin
05/10/2020 09:12
United Kingdom
Arsenal
560

Your welcome Robert

It's good to support a struggling club. Well, it's exciting. 

Thanks

Jack

Alex_from_Ukraine's picture
Alex_from_Ukraine
25/09/2020
UA
6296
points

I'm sometimes put on the back foot by dogs which suddenly attack my back foot. Then I usually stop my bike and try by any means get my attackers on their back feet.


Alex_from_Ukraine's picture
Alex_from_Ukraine
25/09/2020 01:45
Ukraine
Liverpool
6296

I'm sometimes put on the back foot by dogs which suddenly attack my back foot. Then I usually stop my bike and try by any means get my attackers on their back feet.

Alex_from_Ukraine's picture
Alex_from_Ukraine
25/09/2020
UA
6296
points

Fulham is obviously going to be put on the back foot by many teams.


Alex_from_Ukraine's picture
Alex_from_Ukraine
25/09/2020 01:41
Ukraine
Liverpool
6296

Fulham is obviously going to be put on the back foot by many teams.

mobeckham's picture
mobeckham
24/09/2020
TR
6511
points

I think it’s very early to have a go at this topic nevertheless it’s pretty obvious that Fulham and West Bromwich are going to be on the back foot this season unless they change their style of play and become hungrier to win points from early stages.


mobeckham's picture
mobeckham
24/09/2020 19:33
Turkey
Manchester United
6511

I think it’s very early to have a go at this topic nevertheless it’s pretty obvious that Fulham and West Bromwich are going to be on the back foot this season unless they change their style of play and become hungrier to win points from early stages.

SinyorOzen's picture
SinyorOzen
24/09/2020
TR
10
points

I can say that West Brom is going to be the back foot this season. I don't know why they have played so badly for last 2 weeks but to be honest, if they don't change their playing style , we won't see them in premier league next year.


SinyorOzen's picture
SinyorOzen
24/09/2020 14:37
Turkey
Tottenham Hotspur
10

I can say that West Brom is going to be the back foot this season. I don't know why they have played so badly for last 2 weeks but to be honest, if they don't change their playing style , we won't see them in premier league next year.

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8assemjuve3705
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4Serbia27344
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2Liverpool110184
3Chelsea89343
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Learn more football vocabulary.