It’s one of football’s most humiliating moves, and in Europe there are all kinds of ways to describe the shame it brings…


Little crotch

  • Language: Icelandic
  • Original term: klobbi

It’s just a lovely, homely sort of a word, isn’t it? Klobbi, all round and pleasing there. Get a translator on the case, though, and things become altogether less cutesy.

As we commented in our piece on Iceland, klobbi is a friendlier version of the word klof, meaning “crotch”. So klobbi is probably best rendered as “crotchy”. We’ll stick to the Icelandic, takk you very much.

Little bridge

  • Language: French
  • Original term: petit pont

More diminuitives from France, who get all architectural to sum up how leaden-footed the ‘meg leaves its hapless victim.

The French also have the grand pont (big bridge), which doesn’t have a specific equivalent in English, but is about knocking the ball one side of your opponent and running round the other. We should probably get a word for that.


  • Language: Hungarian
  • Original term: kötény

A nice visual image from Hungary, which is more than we can say for…

Little cucumber

  • Language: Austrian German
  • Original term: Gurkerl

We’re not sure of the origins of this one, but we have our suspicions and we very much hope we’re wrong about them. Gurkerl is only used in Austria – over the border in Germany they use the word Tunnel, variations of which are also found in Spain and Portugal.


  • Language: English

We can’t leave without mentioning the most unusual of the bunch, from merry old England. So how did a humble spice come to enter the world of football chat?

The most likely explanation goes back to a time when nutmeg was a valuable commodity, and exporters of the spice would fool their buyers by cutting their product with wood shavings. This would bulk out their load and increase their profits.

Being nutmegged quickly moved into wider use, suggesting cunning from the swindler and stupidity on the part of the swindlee. From there it was a short hop into the language of football.