Football Guide

Football Glossary, Letter F

Football terms alphabetical index


The oldest national football association, credited for formulating the basic game rules of football

F.A. Cup

The oldest football competition in the world, competed by amateur and top-flight teams in England and Wales

Fair charging

A shoulder-to-shoulder contact made against an opponent to gain advantage over the ball; it is “fair charging” if it is not too forceful or does not put the opponent in danger; also called shoulder charge

Fair play rule

In some leagues, when the scores of two teams are tied and there is no way of breaking the tie, the team which incurred the least number of yellow and red cards advance to the next round

Fairs Cup

A short reference to the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup, a former European club competition played to promote international trade fairs; this competition is considered as “friendly”, was not recognized by UEFA, and does not affect the European ranking of teams


A dribbling move in football that deceives or tricks an opponent; also called feint, shimmie


A technique in which a player runs to a teammate in possession to pretend that he will take the ball but doesn’t

Far corner

The corner of the football field farthest from where the ball is

Far post

The goalpost farthest from the location of the ball

Far side

The side of the soccer field opposite where the player with the ball is located

Far stick

Alternate term for the far post, the goal post farthest from the ball


An abbreviation for “football club”, often found as suffix to American and English football club names; for example, Arsenal FC


A move intended to trick or confuse opponents, for example, pretending to shoot or pass then dribbling away with the ball; also called fake, shimmie


The nickname of legendary Brazilian striker Ronaldo


Stands for Federation Internationale de Football Association, the world’s highest governing body of football; first established in 1904

FIFA Ballon d’Or

The award given to the footballer considered the best for a given year, based on the votes of coaches and captains of international teams; formerly called “Footballer of the Year”

FIFA Player of the Year

A former award given by FIFA annually to the player considered the best of the year; also called Footballer of the Year and, currently, the FIFA Ballon d’Or

FIFA World Cup

The biggest football competition in the whole world, held every four years: being a World Cup champion is the highest prestige a team, nation, or player can achieve

Fifty-fifty ball

A loose ball contested by two opposing players, both having the same likelihood of getting the ball


The championship match of a competition


In the World Cup, the phase where 32 teams compete for the trophy in the host venue; this stage is when the “World Cup” really begins; the phase before the finals is called qualification and is held in the years between the World Cups

Final whistle

An idiom in football which denotes the end of a match: although the length of a football game is defined, it is the referee who decides when to blow the final whistle


To score, or attempt to score, a goal after a pass by a teammate

First half

The first period of a football match: a game is divided into two halves of 45 minutes each

First team

The set of players in a club that participate in competitions; the players not included in the first team are called reserves

First touch

The first contact a player makes with the ball; a good first touch makes a player control the ball well or shoot it accurately


A technique for goalkeepers: to punch a high-flighted ball that is difficult to control; also called boxing


A football game of regulation length (90 minutes)


List a schedule of matches that a football club must play over a given season; fixture lists are typically given to a team before the start of a season


The part of the football field near the sideline

Flat four

A defensive line made up of two central defenders and two fullbacks: called such because they often form a flat line; also called flat back four


To kick the ball with a light, quick strike

Flick header

A header made with the back of one’s head; also called back header

Flick pass

A quick pass made with the outside of the foot; usually done by attackers in front of the goal in order to beat the keeper

Foot trap

To stop a ground ball with the sole of one’s foot

Footballer of the Year

An award formerly given by FIFA to the player who is considered the best for the year based on votes by coaches and captains of international teams; replaced by the FIFA Ballon d’Or in 2010


Skillful movements with the feet used to evade opponents or dribble the ball


A slang term for football, used in Australia


The arrangement of players on the football field; modern soccer formations often place a balanced number of players on the defensive and offensive halves


The players positioned nearest to the opponents goal; their primarily responsibility is to score

Forward line

The player or set of players nearest to the opponents’ goal; for example, in a 3-5-2 formation, the forward line is made up of the front “2”


Any act that is unfair, dangerous, or against the game rules; fouls in football are enumerated in Law 12 of FIFA’s rule book

Fourth official

An official whose tasks include assisting the head referee in substitutions, checking the equipment of players, and announcing how many minutes will be added to a football game; the fourth official in football is often found in professional leagues

Free agent

A player who is not affiliated with any club for the time being

Free kick

A kick awarded to a team after a rule violation by its opponent

Friendly match

A non-competitive match played before the start of a season or major tournament


A football dribbling technique in which the player jumps with the ball clamped between his feet

Front block tackle

A tackle made with a solid contact to the ball while facing the opponent

Front header

A header made with the front of the forehead

Front tackle

To approach an attacking opponent face-to-face and attempt kick the ball away from him

Full international

A player achieves a “full international” if he plays the whole length of an international game

Full time

The end of a soccer match

Full volley

A flighted ball kicked before it touches the ground


A defender who plays near the side of the football field
(La) Furia Roja
(The) Red Fury, nickname of the Spanish national football team; derived from the color of their home kit


Football or soccer, as it is called in Portugal and Brazil


A five-versus-five variation of football played indoors with a smaller ball