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 medium so we’re looking at football words and phrases you need to describe what’s happening on the pitch or words and phrases fans and commentators on TV might use. There are lots of phrasal verbs to learn at this level.
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 counter-attack.
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. 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 medium so we’re looking at football words and phrases you need to describe what’s happening on the pitch or words and phrases fans and commentators on TV might use. There will be lots of phrasal verbs to learn at this level.
Rich: The phrase we are looking at in this episode is counter-attack.
Jack: Counter-attack can be used as a noun or a verb and sometimes it’s written as one word and sometimes a hyphen is used between the words.
Rich: Counter-attack is a compound word - it puts two words together to create a new idea so I usually write it with a hyphen.
Jack: If you’re not sure whether to use a hyphen or not with compound words it’s best to check in a good online dictionary like Cambridge, Oxford or Merriam-Webster. I’ve just checked counter-attack and Cambridge dictionary doesn’t use a hyphen, Oxford does use a hyphen and Merriam-Webster says either can be used.
Rich: Let’s look at the meaning of counter-attack. Like so many words and phrases in sport, it’s original meaning comes from war and the battlefield.
Jack: We often describe a match as a battle, we use words like defend, attack and shoot. All of them were used to speak about war before they were used to speak about sport and football.
Rich: Counter-attack is another example. A counter-attack is an attack made in response to an enemy’s attack.
Jack: On the battlefield, a counter-attack is often a fast response to an enemy’s attack and is intended to stop further enemy attacks.
Rich: We often hear the collocation a swift counter-attack which we also hear football commentators us.
Jack: Let’s look at how counter-attack is used in football.
Rich: The meaning of counter-attack is similar in football to how it’s used in war. A counter-attack is a fast attack in response to another team’s attack.
Jack: Counter-attacks are usually used by teams that are mainly defensive and don’t have the ball too much.
Rich: A team defend a lot and let the opposition attack and have the majority of possession. When the opposition eventually lose the ball, the team attacks quickly with a number of players.
Jack: The opposition still have lots of players in attacking parts of the pitch so there is lots of space and chances to score on the counter-attack.
Rich: On the counter-attack - that’s a phrase we hear to describe teams that play in this way. When Leicester City won the Premier League they played on the counter-attack.
Jack: Yes, they were a brilliant counter-attacking side.
Rich: When teams play Liverpool or Manchester City they often play on the counter-attack as they think this is the best chance for them to win.
Jack: You might also hear people just shorten on the counter attacker to on the counter. Leicester were brilliant on the counter. There’ll be lots of chances for them on the counter.
Rich: Counter-attack - a style of play that involves attacking with speed from a defensive position.
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.
- Is it becoming more common to play on the counter-attack?
- What's the best counter-attacking goal/performance you can remember?
Write your answers in the comments section below.