I wonder whether I can use the expressions, "It is a shame that ~." and "It is a pity that ~." when during a soccer match our ball misses the target by a tiny distance.

For example, can I say "It is a shame that our ball missed the target by a tiny distance! We almost scored!" or "It is a pity that our ball missed the target by a tiny distance! We almost scored!"?

Thank you.

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    That's a very restrained and formal way of expressing it. Most of us would just curse. – StoneyB on hiatus Nov 21 '16 at 18:43
  • "It's too bad that No. 7 missed his shot" is more colloquial. – John Feltz Nov 21 '16 at 19:18
  • @StoneyB Thank you. Your comment was very helpful but can you also regard the question again that I made a little bit of change to? :) – Smart Humanism Nov 21 '16 at 19:28
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    "It's a bummer!" – P. E. Dant Nov 21 '16 at 19:41
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    It's a shame/it's a pity have little or nothing to do with the magnitude of the loss or the closeness of the miss... – John Feltz Nov 22 '16 at 17:33

Both of these expressions are fine but a little bit dispassionate, as if you don't feel a lot of emotion about the game. I can't help but imagine a couple of very well-mannered British aristocrats watching the game:

"Oh that's a shame. What a pity he missed that shot."


(both sip their tea)

As StoneyB mentions, most people would use much stronger language. Some nicer examples of this:

Oh my god! He missed the shot!

Can you believe he missed that shot!

How the hell did he miss that shot?

How in the world could he have missed that shot?

And many, many others.

[Edit] As J.R. mentions in his comment, some people (of a calm and civil demeanor) might use different language to respond to the case where the ball just misses the goal. For example:

Oh! So close!

Almost got it!

Damn! Missed by a hair!

And so on. Now me, I'd still probably issue a string of expletives and say unkind things about the kicker's family. It really depends on personality.

  • I don't think your sentences match the intent of the OP. The OP seems to be talking about a tantalizingly close shot just wide of the post or just above the crossbar. Your sentences seem more appropriate for shots where the player made a bad kick on what was otherwise an open net. – J.R. Nov 21 '16 at 20:15
  • @J.R. I suppose it depends on the fan. Many of my friends use pretty colorful language regardless. :) – Andrew Nov 21 '16 at 20:32
  • Just to be clear, my comment had nothing to do with civility or vulgarity. Someone could just as easily say, “Oh, fuck! He just missed it!” But “How in the world did he miss that?” doesn’t seem like the most fitting thing to say for a narrow miss by a “tiny distance". – J.R. Nov 22 '16 at 1:33
  • @J.R. I think that you writing "a tantalizingly close shot" show you got my point! Thank you for the caring. – Smart Humanism Nov 22 '16 at 17:31
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    @SmartHumanism when people watch sports, they can use very creative expressions because of the emotions involved. For example, when watching (American) football on TV my father-in-law often pounds on the arm of his chair and yells "Get that sucker!" to encourage his team to make a tackle. So I think you're going to get a hundred different answers, depending on who you ask and how emotional they get about the sport. – Andrew Nov 22 '16 at 18:13

An idiomatic expression used to describe the event in your question is

Near miss

It might be preceded by a vulgar or polite expletive, e.g.:

  • Shit! A near miss!
  • Bummer! A near miss!

If the missed goal would have benefitted the side opposed to the speaker's rooting interest, the expression instead would be

Close call

In this case, the vulgar expletive would still be used:

  • Shit! That was a close call!
  • Near miss is an excellent phrase, but I don’t know if I’ve ever heard that uttered from the stands. More like, "Ooo! That was close!” (where “Ooo” rhymes with “shoe”), or maybe, “Oh, that was so close!” – J.R. Nov 22 '16 at 9:25
  • @P. E. Dant Thank you very much for your answering. I have come to know very useful, concise expression due to you. :) – Smart Humanism Nov 22 '16 at 17:54
  • @J.R. It may depend upon where in the stands one is seated. In some seats, you would hear nothing but expletive modifying expletive. In fact, having sat amongst sodden hooligans of diverse nationalities at many football matches over the years, I can attest that I've heard nothing but expletives when one's side misses a close one. Not a soul has mentioned shame or pity, in any language, at the sporting events I have attended. The sole exception was at a baseball game in Italy, where it is customary for fans to chant "Errore! Errore!" whenever a fielder boots one. – P. E. Dant Nov 23 '16 at 5:00
  • P. E. Dant, Sorry to keep bothering you by only asking you but are "close miss" instead of "near miss", and "near call" instead of "close call" possible? :) – Smart Humanism Dec 10 '16 at 18:52
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    @SmartHumanism "Near miss" and "close call" are idiomatic expressions. Although we could write "close miss" and perhaps be understood, such a usage would puzzle most readers and listeners. – P. E. Dant Dec 22 '16 at 4:05

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