Football Guide

Football Glossary, Letter D

Football terms alphabetical index


A letter in statistics which indicates a draw

Danger zone

The inside of the penalty area, where most goals are scored

Dangerous Play

A move which endangers the well-being of other players; for example, tackling an opponent from behind or attempt to kick the ball when the opposing keeper is about to catch it

Danish Dynamite

Nickname of Denmark’s national football team during the 1980s and 1990s

Danubian style

A football formation popular in the past that is similar to the 2-3-5

Dead ball

A situation when the ball is not in play; a dead ball situation happens during a throw-in, corner kick, goal kick, free kicks, and kick off

Decoy run

A movement made by a player to draw attention away from an attacking teammate; also called “creating space” and dummy run

Defend deep

A command given to a defending team to stay on their defensive half


(a) A position in soccer with the primary task of denying the opponents ball possession and scoring opportunities, positioned in front of the goal
(b) Players from that side that is not in possession of the ball


Alternate term for a defender

Defensive half

The half of the football field where a team’s goal is located

Defensive midfielder

A midfield player whose primary task is to defend, often located behind the half-line

Defensive third

The part of the football field where the goal and the defenders are located; a soccer pitch can be divided into three: the defensive third, the midfield, and the attacking third


A ball that bounced off a player; defenders deflect the ball to prevent goal-scoring or to cut a pass


A slight push, made to gain advantage over an opponent


(a) A rivalry between two teams of the same city: famous examples of derbies are between Lazio and Roma in Italy and between Manchester City and Manchester United in the United Kingdom
(b) A match between two derby teams

Desert Foxes

The nickname of the Algerian national football team


A diamond-shaped formation of players on the midfield: created when two players are assigned as wingers, one as an attacking midfielder, and another one as a defensive midfielder; typicall used in the 4-4-2 formation

Direct free kick

A type of free kick in which a player can score a goal directly; its opposite is the indirect free kick, in which another player must touch the ball before a goal can be attempted

Direct play

A type of attacking football where the defensive players immediately kick the ball forward to the advanced players after retrieving it


To declare that a goal is invalid because of a rule violation; a goal can also be disallowed if the referee thinks the ball has not completely crossed the goal line


To express disagreement to a referee’s or linesman’s decision; can be made verbally or through actions


To pretend to have been fouled by a defender in order to get a penalty or free kick: diving in football is punishable with a yellow card; also called simulation

Diving header

A way of heading the soccer ball by jumping parallel to the ground; often made when the ball is too high to be kicked or too low for a standing header


(a) Winning two major tournaments in the same year
(b) Winning both home and away games in the same season, usually used in the phrase “doing the double over (name of a team)”

Down line

An expression used to instruct a player to send the ball to the touchline


(a) A game that ended with a tied score
(b) The process of selecting which teams play with each other in a tournament, usually done through lottery


To move and control the ball with the feet while it remains on the ground

Drop back

An expression given to defenders encouraging them to go to their defensive half and play defense

Drop ball

A method of restarting play after a stoppage caused by technical reasons or interference of a third party (e.g., the interference by a pitch invader); done by the referee dropping the ball between two opposing players; also spelled as dropped ball

Drop kick

A goalkeeping move: to drop the ball to the ground an D a letter in statistics which indicates a draw


A player who pretends to receive the ball but allows it to travel fast him in order to deceive the defenders

Dummy run

A run made by a player to draw the attention of defenders away from an attacking teammate; also called decoy run and “creating space” d kick it after it bounced off