Soccer Acronyms Guide for the FIFA 2022 World Cup in Qatar


Soccer may be the world’s sport, but it’s still playing catch up in the U.S. This can lead to some confusion as fans struggle to keep up with terms thrown around the pitch. These terms and slag will be on full display for the 2022 World Cup.

If you’re stressed about bombarding your friend with questions or covertly keeping Google open the entire match, look no further: We’ve got the solution for you. 

Here’s a list of some common soccer acronyms you might see throughout the 2022 World Cup: 

  • FIFA (Federation Internationale de Football Association): the international governing body overseeing football, beach football and futsal. FIFA, made of 211 member associations and six federations, hosts the World Cup.
  • FOP (field of play): the rectangle-shaped field market by regulated boundaries. 
  • FT (full time): the end of the 90-minute allotted period. FT does not include stoppage time, or time awarded at the end of the game to account for regular breaks in play (e.g. injuries, on-field logistics).
  • GF (goals for): total goals a team scored.
  • GA (goals against): total goals a team conceded.
  • GD (goal differential): the difference between the number of goals for and goals against. 
  • HT (half time): a 15-minute break between the two 45-minute halves. Unlike full time, half time does include stoppage time of the first half. 
  • MP (matches played): total games played
  • PA (points against): total points a team conceded. Unlike GA, which only takes into account goals, PA is a measurement of game results with a win equaling three points, a draw equaling one point and a loss equaling zero points.
  • PK (penalty kick): a shot 12 yards from the goal line that involves only one player and the goalkeeper. PKs are awarded when specific offenses (handball, fouls of excessive force, thrown object obstructs play, etc.) are committed within the penalty box. PKs can also be used to settle ties.
  • RC (red cards): a penalty that results in automatic ejection and forces a team to play a man down. Two yellow cards are equivalent to a red card. If a player receives a red card, they have to miss the next match the team plays
  • SOG (shots on goal): any on-target shot that would have resulted in a goal if not for the goalie saving it.
  • VAR (video assistant referee): additional match official that uses video to flag and review specific live calls considered to be potentially a “clear and obvious error” or “serious missed incident.” The four types of calls that are eligible to be reviewed under VAR are goal/no goal, penalty kick/no penalty kick, direct red card and mistaken identity in application of a red or yellow card. 
  • YC (yellow cards): a cautionary penalty that a referee gives to a player. The player’s number is then recorded by the referee. A player who has been cautioned can continue playing in the game. A second yellow card results in an automatic ejection and is the the equivalent to a red card. If given two yellow cards, a player has to miss the next match the team plays.

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