Football Guide

Football Glossary, Letter B

Football terms alphabetical index

B team

The reserve team of a club or national team


The players who make up the defensive line of a team

Back and face

An instruction, usually given after a turnover, telling players to drop back and defend

Back door

An alternative term for the far post, the goal post furthest from the ball; if the ball is on the left side of the goal, the back door is the one on the right, vice versa

Back four

The players who make up the defensive line, a term used when a team plays with four defenders

Back header

A type of header in football done using the back of the head

Back heel

The technique of kicking the ball using the back of the heel

Back pass

To pass the ball to one’s own goalkeeper, a tactic often used to consume time or to preserve possession of the ball; also known as pass back

Back pass rule

A rule which prohibits goalkeepers from touching the ball with their hands if it has been passed back to them deliberately by a teammate; violation of the back pass rule in football is punishable with a free kick

Back tackle

To tackle the ball carrier from behind


(a) A defender’s teammate who provides him cover as he pressures the ball 
(b) The available players on a team’s bench

Bafana Bafana

Nickname of the South African football team

Balkan Lions

Nickname of Bulgaria's national football team

Ball watching

The tendency of a player to be unaware of what is happening because of focusing too much on the ball instead of the situation or movement of other players

Ballon d'Or

(literally, "Golden Ball") An annual award given to the best footballer who plays in Europe; changed in 2010 to FIFA Ballon d’Or to include players all over the world

Banana kick

A special kick in soccer which causes the ball to take a curved path


The horizontal bar which connects the two goalposts; also called the crossbar

Barbie Dolls

Nickname of the Romanian national football team (Romania football) at World Cup 1998: the whole team sported a blonde hairdo, which fans associated with Barbie’s hair color


A short reference for FC Barcelona, one of the most popular football clubs in Spain

Beach soccer

A variant of association football played five-versus-five on a sand surface, usually at the beach


To escape a defender with a combination of speed and skills at dribbling the soccer ball

Behind closed doors

A match where spectators are not allowed to watch; often, a game is played behind closed doors to prevent potentially dangerous clashes between opposing fans


(a) The substitute players of a team
(b) In football stadiums, the sitting area for the staff and substitutes of a team


To kick in a way that will make the soccer ball curve in midair

Between the sticks

The area between the two goalposts; if a ball goes “between the sticks” it means a goal has been scored

Bicycle kick

A special type of kick in soccer where a player strikes the ball with his foot while inverted in midair

Big box

Alternate term for the penalty area, the big rectangular marking on the football pitch where the goalkeeper can handle the ball; also known as the penalty box

Black Stars

The nickname of Ghana's national football squad


A very powerful shot; also called a bomb

(Les) Bleus

(The) Blues, the nickname of France's national team, derived from their blue football kit

Block tackle

A tackling technique in soccer where a defender tries to dispossess his opponent by meeting him head on and kicking the ball away from him


A very strong shot


The issuing of a yellow or red card by a referee; named such because the referee writes a player’s number on his notebook after giving a card


To clear the ball away from one’s goal


A short term for the penalty box, the area where a goalkeeper can handle the ball

Box-to-box midfielder

A midfielder who possess exceptional skills and stamina which allows him to play both in offense and defense; called such because he plays from one penalty box to the other


The scoring of two goals by one player; scoring three goals is a hat trick


(a) To escape a defender in a one-on-one confrontation; (b) A run that penetrates the enemy defense


To run clear of all the defending players; typically used in situations where an attacker has run free from all the defenders and is in a one-on-one situation with the goalkeeper

Build up

Bringing the ball towards the opponent’s goal with the use of short passes and player movements, as opposed to a long ball where one player makes a long pass towards an advance teammate 


The nickname of Zambia's national team 


The highest division in Germany’s football league system


The act of beating an enemy player by the use of speed or dribbling abilities


The line between a goalpost and a corner flag