Football Guide

Football Glossary, Letter M

Football terms alphabetical index


A skillful player who directs the movement of a team

Man of the match

An unofficial recognition given to a player who has contributed most to the success of his team in a game

Man on

An interjection used to warn a teammate in possession that an opposing player is nearby

Man short

A term used to describe a team that players with one player less after a send-off


The person in-charged of the overall affairs of a team, including the selection of match line-ups, first-team players, selling and buying of talents, and most importantly, tactical decisions; often used in British terminology, equivalent to the head coach in other usages


Nickname of the German national football squad

Man-to-man marking

A defensive method where each player is assigned a specific opponent to watch; the opposite of man-marking is zone defense


A short reference to the Stadio Maracanã, a football stadium in Brazil built to host the 1950 World Cup


A regulation football game; used interchangeably with game, fixture, clash

Match officials

The persons in charged of regulating a football match, often made up of one head referee and two assistant referees or linesmen. In professional leagues, a fourth football official is present to administer player substitutions and other technical matters


A term used to describe a player who is in excellent physical condition to participate in a football game


A football dribbling move where a player fakes to go to one direction then suddenly shifts to the other; named after British football legend Stanley Matthews

Measured ball

A well-calculated pass that reaches its desired target; also called measured shot

Metodo system

2-3-2-3: a classic football formation used by Italy to win the 1934 and 1938 World Cups

Mexican wave

A movement of stadium fans where they alternate standing up and sitting down to create the visual effect of a wave; first seen internationally in the 1986 World Cup in Mexico


The middle third of the football field; for tactical reasons, the playing field is divided into three parts: the back or defensive third, the midfield, and the attacking third

Midfield anchor

A midfield player positioned at the middle with the primary task is of breaking the attacks of opponents


A player positioned on the middle part of the pitch, between the forwards and the defenders


A failed attempt at scoring a goal

Mistimed tackle

A tackle made before an opponent receives the ball or after he passes it: a dangerous move that is punishable by a red card or yellow card

Mitropa Cup

A now-defunct European club competition started in 1927 and last played in 1992: widely considered as the first international club competition in the world

Movement off the ball

A player’s ability to get into good position when not in possession of the ball

Multiball system

A football match where many balls are used to save time: when a ball goes out of bounds, the playing ball is replaced by a reserved ball thereby reducing the time spent on retrieving the ball


A short reference to the FIFA World Cup, the biggest international football tournament


(a) An annual beach soccer (beach soccer) tournament first played in 1994
(b) A one-time international tournament held in 1980 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the World Cup