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I very much like the suggestion offered by imsotiredicantsleepimsotiredicantsleep:

couldn't find the net

which generally implies the passing game was strong, the scoring chances plenty, and time of possession dominant – yet the goal tally stubbornly low.

One thing I'd like to add, though: if the scoring chances went wide, or hit the crossbar, the team couldn't find the net. On the other hand, if excellent goalkeeping is what tilted the game, we sometimes say

the keeper stood on his head

One website explains that this saying has roots in ice hockey, but it has crossed over into other sports that have goalkeeper positions, such as lacrosse and soccer. A recent ESPN video caption read:

Tim Howard stood on his head against Belgium in the Round of 16, recording 16 saves in the process.

Had the U.S. managed to win that game (and they had a very good chance in the 93rd minute), then Howard's standing on his head might have been the stated reason for Belgium's manque de réussite.

I very much like the suggestion offered by imsotiredicantsleep:

couldn't find the net

which generally implies the passing game was strong, the scoring chances plenty, and time of possession dominant – yet the goal tally stubbornly low.

One thing I'd like to add, though: if the scoring chances went wide, or hit the crossbar, the team couldn't find the net. On the other hand, if excellent goalkeeping is what tilted the game, we sometimes say

the keeper stood on his head

One website explains that this saying has roots in ice hockey, but it has crossed over into other sports that have goalkeeper positions, such as lacrosse and soccer. A recent ESPN video caption read:

Tim Howard stood on his head against Belgium in the Round of 16, recording 16 saves in the process.

Had the U.S. managed to win that game (and they had a very good chance in the 93rd minute), then Howard's standing on his head might have been the stated reason for Belgium's manque de réussite.

I very much like the suggestion offered by imsotiredicantsleep:

couldn't find the net

which generally implies the passing game was strong, the scoring chances plenty, and time of possession dominant – yet the goal tally stubbornly low.

One thing I'd like to add, though: if the scoring chances went wide, or hit the crossbar, the team couldn't find the net. On the other hand, if excellent goalkeeping is what tilted the game, we sometimes say

the keeper stood on his head

One website explains that this saying has roots in ice hockey, but it has crossed over into other sports that have goalkeeper positions, such as lacrosse and soccer. A recent ESPN video caption read:

Tim Howard stood on his head against Belgium in the Round of 16, recording 16 saves in the process.

Had the U.S. managed to win that game (and they had a very good chance in the 93rd minute), then Howard's standing on his head might have been the stated reason for Belgium's manque de réussite.

1
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I very much like the suggestion offered by imsotiredicantsleep:

couldn't find the net

which generally implies the passing game was strong, the scoring chances plenty, and time of possession dominant – yet the goal tally stubbornly low.

One thing I'd like to add, though: if the scoring chances went wide, or hit the crossbar, the team couldn't find the net. On the other hand, if excellent goalkeeping is what tilted the game, we sometimes say

the keeper stood on his head

One website explains that this saying has roots in ice hockey, but it has crossed over into other sports that have goalkeeper positions, such as lacrosse and soccer. A recent ESPN video caption read:

Tim Howard stood on his head against Belgium in the Round of 16, recording 16 saves in the process.

Had the U.S. managed to win that game (and they had a very good chance in the 93rd minute), then Howard's standing on his head might have been the stated reason for Belgium's manque de réussite.