A woman walks past near the banners for the 2018 soccer World Cup in St. Petersburg, Russia, Tuesday, June 12, 2018. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

The 2018 FIFA World Cup is set to begin on June 14 in Russia.  (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

World Cup 2018 terms to know, from 'Spoons of Victory' to panenka

The 2018 FIFA World Cup is set to begin Thursday in Russia -- but do you know how to discuss “the beautiful game”?  

On June 14, 32 teams will compete in 64 matches played in 11 cities throughout Russia in the World Cup. Certain terms may repeatedly pop up while watching coverage of the international soccer tournament over the next few weeks.


Read on to discover a few words you may encounter and what they signify.

Boots: These are a player’s soccer cleats.

Cap: This is a player's career appearance for "his national team in an international game,” Major League Soccer (MLS) explains online. 

Card: Referees give these to players as warnings, especially after a serious foul. If a player receives two yellow cards, they are automatically given a red card and kicked out of the game.

Corner kick: The International Football Association Board (IFAB) says such a move is given out “when the whole of the ball passes over the goal line, on the ground or in the air, having last touched a player of the defending team, and a goal is not scored.”

Free kick: Viewers tuning in may see both indirect and direct free kicks during a competition, depending on the circumstances involved.  

"Direct and indirect free kicks and penalty kicks can only be awarded for offenses committed when the ball is in play," the IFAB says. 

Friendlies: Matches played between teams that aren't part of a competition are called friendlies. Often, they can be used by coaches to try out new players. 

Football: Soccer is called football in most countries, except for in the U.S. and a handful of others. 

Header: This term describes when a player uses their head to maneuver the ball.

Lozhkas: A traditional Russian noisemaker, lozhkas are two wooden spoons that soccer fans can click together to celebrate. The official celebratory instrument for the tournament has been dubbed "Spoons of Victory." 

Designer Rustam Nugmanov plays spoons branded "Spoons of Victory", official instrument chosen by Russia for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, at a workshop in the city of Lyubertsy, outside Moscow, Russia June 7, 2018. Picture taken June 7, 2018. REUTERS/Tatyana Makeyeva - RC1DA2059A10

Designer Rustam Nugmanov plays spoons branded "Spoons of Victory", the official instrument chosen by Russia for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.  (Reuters/Tatyana Makeyeva)


Kit: A player’s uniform, which may feature bright colors and designs. You can check out the kits for all 32 teams competing in the 2018 FIFA World Cup here.

Match: This is another term for the soccer game.

Nutmeg: This is a move that involves kicking a soccer ball through another player’s legs.

Panenka: A way of making a penalty kick “in which the player, instead of kicking the ball directly into the goal, gives a subtle touch underneath the ball, causing it to rise and fall within the goal thus deceiving the goalkeeper,” is a panenka, according to the MLS.

Panini sticker books: An Italian collectibles company called Panini publishes sticker books -- whose allure is similar to baseball or Pokemon cards -- challenging fans to complete the set.

Each book has spots for 681 stickers depicting stadiums, players, host cities and other items. The stickers themselves are sold in packs of five.

Pitch: This is another term for the soccer field.


Offside: This happens when a player is closer to the opponent's goal than the penultimate defender or the ball is. 

Set piece: A set piece is a situation in which a team puts a ball back in play, through moves such as throw-ins, corner kicks or free kicks.

Throw-ins: This is when players throw the ball back onto the pitch.

“A throw-in is awarded to the opponents of the player who last touched the ball when the whole of the ball passes over the touchline, on the ground or in the air,” the IFAB says.

VAR: For the first time in World Cup history, referees will get an assist with video assistant referees, or VAR. This process enables a team of officials to view matches over a video system that can be used during potentially game-changing moments. 

Vuvuzela: The 2010 World Cup in South Africa introduced many to the vuvuzela, a long plastic horn. Concerns about the loud noise the horn makes have caused the vuvuzela to be banned from many sporting events, including this year's World Cup.

Zabivaka: Meaning "the one who scores" in Russian, Zabivaka is the official mascot of the 2018 World Cup, which is a wolf. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.