Basic Phrases in Arabic You Need to Know Ahead of Qatar

Qatar’s 2022 World Cup is quickly approaching, and excitement is mounting as we get closer and closer to the big event. This will be the first time that Qatar hosts the World Cup, and people are eager to see how everything turns out. Are you going to Qatar this year? If you are, we would like you to be aware of the importance of learning basic phrases in Arabic before travelling.

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While English is widely spoken in Qatar, it is important to be able to communicate with locals in their native language.

This will make your experience much more enjoyable and help you get around easier. Plus, you’ll be able to share the joy, excitement, and even the frustration that comes with watching a World Cup match!

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Last week, we brought you essential Arabic phrases that you can use to get around, go shopping, ask for instructions, and ask for help. Today, we are bringing you football-related words and and basic phrases in Arabic that you can use during or after a match to talk to locals about plays, fouls, and goals.

The Field – Basic Phrases in Arabic

The Football Pitch  (Maṣrāf al-Fūtbol)

In Arabic, a football pitch is called “maṣrāf al-fūtbol”. This is the equivalent of the English word “field”. It is used to describe the area where the game is played. The maṣrāf is divided into two halves: the left half and the right half. Each half is called “jaish” in Arabic.

The Center (al-Markaz)

The center of the maṣrāf is where the action happens. This is where the players try to score goals. It is also where the referee stands during the game. In Arabic, this area is called “al-markaz”.

The Sidelines  (al-Ṣawādīq)

The sidelines are the areas on either side of the maṣrāf. They are called “al-ṣawādiq” in Arabic. These are the areas where the players wait for their turn to play. They are also where the coaches and other team officials sit during the game.

The Penalty Area  (Mintaqat al-ʿIṣmah)

The penalty area is the large area in front of each goal. It is called “mintaqat al-ʿiṣmah” in Arabic. This is where the penalty kicks are taken, so you’re sure to hear these words in varying tones of anger throughout your stay.

The Goal Area  (Mintaqat al-Ghūl)

The goal area is the area in front of each goal. It is called “mintaqat al-ghūl” in Arabic. This is where the goalie stands and where the players try to score goals.

The Penalty Spot  (Maqṣad al-ʿIṣmah)

The penalty spot is the small spot in the middle of the penalty area. It is called “maqṣad al-ʿiṣmah” in Arabic, and it’s where the penalty kicks are taken from.

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The Center Circle  (Dawr al-Markaz)

The center circle is the large circle in the middle of the maṣrāf. This is where the game starts from. Just before the game starts, you can draw your friend’s attention to the field by saying: ‘iinahum yatajamaeun hawl dawr al-markaz!’ (“They’re gathering around the Center Circle!)

The Midfield  (al-Ṣawt)

The midfield is the area between the two halves of the maṣrāf. It is called “al-ṣawt” in Arabic. This is where most of the action happens during the game.

The Corner Flag   (ʿAyn al-Ṣawādiq)

The corner flag is the flag that is placed in each corner of the maṣrāf. This is where the corner kicks are taken from, so it could also be called ‘almintaqat alati yumkin ‘an yahduth fiha kulu shay’ (“the area where everything can happen”).

The Players – Basic Phrases in Arabic

The Goalkeeper (al-Muʿadhdhin)

The goalkeeper is the player who tries to keep the other team from scoring goals. He is also the one who starts the game with a kick-off. In Arabic, he is called “al-muʿadhdhin”. This word comes from the same root as the word for “call to prayer”, (which is accurate given how many people start to pray as soon as the ball approaches the goal)

The Defender (al-Musawwir)

The defender is the player who tries to stop the other team from scoring goals. In Arabic, he is called “al-musawwir”. This word comes from the same root as the word for “painter”. Don’t ask me why.

The Midfielder (al-Ṣawtī)

The midfielder is the player who plays in the midfield. He is responsible for getting the ball to the forwards and helping the defenders. This word comes from the same root as the word for “sound” which, disappointingly, has nothing to do with the roar of the crowd as the player makes a master move for the ball.

The Forward (al-ʿUqbah)

The forward is the player who tries to score goals. In Arabic, he is called “al-ʿuqbah”. This word comes from the same root as the word for “goal”. (At last, one that makes total sense for English speakers!)

The Coach (al-Muʿallim)

The coach is the person who is in charge of the team. He decides which players will play and how they will play. In Arabic, he is called “al-muʿallim”. This word comes from the same root as the word for “teacher”. Isn’t that nice?

Now that you know how to name the different parts of a field and the people in them, let’s move on to useful phrases and expressions that you can use to connect with the crowd.

Football Expressions and Phrases in Arabic

You’re Offside! (ʿAnta ʿUqbah!)

This is one of the most common phrases you’ll hear during a football match. It’s used when a player from the other team is in the wrong place and is not allowed to touch the ball.

Score! (Li-Taṣfiḥ!)

You’ll hear this expression when a player is about to take a shot at the goal. It’s used to encourage the player (or just beg him to save the match).

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Oof! That Was a Hard Hit! (Aiwa! Ḍabʿa Ḍabbatan!)

This is a phrase you’ll hear when a player gets hit by the ball in a way that looks painful. It’s used to show sympathy for the player.

What a Save! (Law Ḥimāyah!)

Has the goalkeeper just made a great move? Use this phrase to show admiration.

This is a Penalty! (Dhakāt ʿUqbah!)

This is a phrase you’ll hear when a player is fouled in the penalty area. It’s used to let the referee know that a foul has been committed.

He Missed! (La-Yaḥṣab!)

Has a player just missed a goal? Instead of saying “Nooooooooo”, use this phrase to show your disappointment.

He’s On Fire! (Huwa ʿAyyār!)

This is an expression you’ll hear when a player is on a winning streak.

I Didn’t Like That Referee! (La-ʿAṣif ʿAnhu al-Muḥāfiẓ!)

Usually said by people whose favourite team has just lost, this is a phrase you’ll hear a lot during your stay in Qatar.

That Was a Great Match! (Huwa ʿIḍāḥ ʿAjab!)

Has your team just won the game? Say this phrase out loud as you leave the pitch, but be prepared to receive a few harsh looks from people who are not as happy as you are with the results.

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So, there you are. With these basic phrases in Arabic, you will be able to connect with the crowd and enjoy the match to the fullest while you attend the 2022 World Cup.

If you want to go beyond basic phrases in Arabic and learn how to communicate in Arabic ahead of Qatar, send us a message and we’ll pair you up with a native teacher for a customised course for travellers. All you have to do is tell us about you and your learning goals and we’ll find you the best match.

Until then, happy football season!