What is Nutmegging in Football? [How To Do A Cheeky Nutmeg]

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What is nutmegging in football? Well, if you’ve ever watched a game of football and seen a player flick the ball through an opponent’s legs, you’ve witnessed a nutmeg.

This classic move is often used to humiliate an opponent and can be quite effective in open play or during a one-on-one situation.

Let’s take a closer look at what nutmegging is, why it’s called that and some top tips on how it’s done!

What is nutmegging in football?

A nutmeg is when a football player kicks the ball through an opponent’s legs and then retrieves the ball on the other side.

It’s considered to be a cheeky move, and it often leaves the defender feeling embarrassed (and maybe a little frustrated!).

It’s an effective move because it allows you to bypass an opponent’s defenses and get closer to the goal.

It also momentarily knocks your opponent off balance, giving you an opportunity to take control of the ball.

When done correctly, nutmegging can be a very powerful weapon in your football skills arsenal!

Watch and learn: What is a nutmeg in football?

Here’s a great compilation that shows you what a nutmeg is and how skillful you have to be to do one in a live game!

Why is it called nutmegging in football?

It turns out, there’s no straight answer to why a nutmeg in football is called a nutmeg! But there are a few theories…

One is the fact that the verb ‘nutmegged’ is listed by the Oxford English Dictionary as “arising in the 1870s which in Victorian slang came to mean ‘to be tricked or deceived, especially in a manner which makes the victim look foolish’.”

However, in his book Football Talk – The Language And Folklore Of The World’s Greatest Game, Peter Seddon points out an interesting theory as to how this term came about: it comes from duplicitous practice within the nut-browning industry!

He says Victorians would use language like “nutmeggeds” (to trick others) which eventually became associated with being ‘egged on’ when one gets more than they bargained for…a bit too much walnuts maybe?

We like to think the answer is actually more simple: nutmeg is old 1940s cockney rhyming slang for legs!

That’s right, so when a player kicks the ball through an opponent’s legs, they’re effectively ‘nutmegging’ them or giving them a ‘nutmeg’!

It’s also known as a ‘meg’ or getting ‘megged’ if you’re down with the kids (which we are!).

what is nutmegging in football

How do you meg someone in football?

A ‘meg’ is when you kick the ball between an opponent’s legs. It’s considered a polite way of saying “you got owned.”

Megging someone is also a good way to show off your skills.

If you can do it without them seeing it coming, it’s even more impressive. Here’s how to execute a perfect meg.

How to do a football nutmeg.

First, let’s start with the basics. A nutmeg is when you kick the ball through your opponent’s legs, and they are left standing there looking silly.

It requires split-second timing and can be very difficult to execute properly. If done correctly, however, it will leave your opponent red-faced and feeling embarrassed. Here are some tips on how to pull off a successful nutmeg.

1) Wait for the right moment:

The key to any good nutmeg is timing. Get the ball close to their feet.

You need to wait until your opponent is off balance and not expecting it. This could be when they are turning or about to receive the ball. As soon as you see them start to move, make your move.

2) Move quickly:

Once you have decided to go for it, you need to be quick.

The last thing you want is for your opponent to recover and block the ball. So as soon as you see your opportunity, take it!

3) Use the inside of your foot:

When kicking the ball through your opponent’s legs, use the inside of your foot rather than the outside.

This will give you more control over the ball and help ensure that you don’t miss your target.

4) Follow through:

After you have kicked the ball through your opponent’s legs, follow through with your swing.

This will help keep the ball low and on target, making it more difficult for your opponent to recover.

5) Retrieve the ball:

As the ball goes through, quickly step around your opponent and continue down the field.

If done correctly, they will be left chasing you as you head towards goal.

– Practice, practice, practice! The more you do it, the better you’ll get at it.

Watch and learn: Top 5 ways to do a nutmeg.

Here’s a great film that shows you 5 ways to meg your opponent in a real game.

How do you defend against a nutmeg?

A nutmeg is a tricky move to defend against, but there are a few things you can do to increase your chances of success.

First, stay calm and don’t panic. If you get tense, it will be harder to react quickly.

Second, keep your eyes on the ball at all times. It can be tempting to focus on your opponent’s feet, but if you take your eyes off the ball for even a second, you’re likely to get nutmegged.

Third, stand side-on, rather than facing your opponent head-on. This will place your legs in a harder position for your opponent to kick the ball through.

Stay on your toes and be ready to react quickly. If you see your opponent making a move towards your legs, be prepared to block the ball with your foot or body.

Finally, if all else fails, just remember that it’s only a game and try not to take it too seriously. Getting nutmegged is part of the fun!

The final score.

So, there you have it.

Everything you need to know about nutmegging in football. Now go out and give it a try yourself!

Just don’t forget to practice first!

This article was written by

  • Anna Adams, Creative Director & Content Lead

    Hi there! I'm Anna Adams, your go-to source for all things women's football. I've been crazy about football for over 20 years, ever since I was kicking a ball around with my brothers as a kid. I've turned my passion into a career where I get to share all the cool stuff about football with you. As a content lead, I've had the awesome opportunity to work with various sports brands and publications. Whether it's the latest gear, pro tips, or just some cool football trivia, I'm all about making f...