Hard: Too close to call
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.
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 to close to call.
You can find more lessons on the side of this page.
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: too close to call.
Jack: The phrase too close to call is used to describe a competition where it’s not clear who will win.
Rich: Competitions are too close to call when it is likely to be won by a very small margin or amount.
Jack: A competition or result is too close to call when either side may win.
Rich: Let’s look at the two words that make up this phrase. Let’s start with the word close. Close has lots of meanings but what does it mean in this phrase?
Jack: If something is close to you, it is near to you. I have a park close to my house for example. Close has a similar meaning in this phrase as the competitors are very close or near to each other in the race or competition.
Rich: What about the word call?
Jack: To call in this phrase means the same as predict. When a football match is 0-0 and there are lots of chances at both ends the result can be difficult to call.
Rich: We see the phrase too close to call used in sports competitions and political races and elections. Let’s look at a couple of examples:
Jack: This season’s title race is too close to call. Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea are within three points of each other with two games left to play.
Rich: In this example, it’s difficult to predict which team will win the league because the teams’ positions in the league table and the number of points they have earned are so close together. Here’s another example:
Jack: The relegation battle is too close to call. It could be any three from six really.
Rich: Again, we’re saying we can’t predict who will be relegated because there are six teams in a similar position in the league. The relegation battle is too close to call.
Jack: Moving away from football we also see the phrase used a lot when there are elections.
Rich: When an election or political race is very close, TV stations and other media outlets will say the race is too close to call.
Jack: When the TV station has more information they will call the result for one side or the other.
Rich: As we speak the result of the US election is too close to call.
Jack: There is the final whistle!
Rich: We’ll be back soon with more Premier Vocabulary from Premier Skills English.
Jack: Bye for now and enjoy your football.
Can you tell us about a competition that was too close to call until the final moment?