He was rendered mostly ineffective by Uruguay’s stout defense; it was fellow veteran Pepe – not No. 7 – whose powerful header pulled Portugal level 10 minutes into the second half after Cavani put the Uruguyans ahead in the first.

I figure level here is like an adverb and pulled Portugal level means pull Portugal back to the competition because of the score by that powerful header. But I don't know if I understand it correctly. What's the correct way of understanding pulled Portugal level in this context?

1 Answer 1


If two things are level, then they are at the same height (or distance, size and so on). If the scores are level, it means the two sides have scored the same

the phrase "to pull level" means to accelerate to reach the same point as someone. For example you might say that "a car pulled level with me when overtaking".

The goal caused the scores to become equal. You could also say it "levelled the scores"

  • I can't find a good dictionary definition for "pull level" any suggestions?
    – James K
    Jul 1, 2018 at 6:40
  • I was trying to get it anywhere,but I didn't find it either.
    – dan
    Jul 1, 2018 at 7:31
  • I am curious if pull level is a set indeed. Maybe we should take 'pull' and 'level' separately?
    – dan
    Jul 1, 2018 at 7:52
  • 1
    @JamesK - I’ll try to elaborate. By definition, idiomatic means using, containing, or denoting expressions that are natural to a native speaker. I can’t think of anyone who would say, “That header pulled Portugal level,” while watching or recapping a game. However, I’m not surprised to read something like that in a sports column. Sports journalists seem to have a knack for sprinkling compact but oddly-worded phrases into more common vernacular, such as: Gerard Pique smashed Spain’s second in off the post, but 38-year-old Sergei Ignashevich wrong-footed David De Gea to equalize.
    – J.R.
    Jul 1, 2018 at 17:52
  • 1
    @Dan - That's my point. It's a sentence I extracted from a World Cup article. Sportswriters seem to write as if they are a little worried about overusing the word tie, so they will often use verbs like knotted, equalize, or pull level in its stead – substitutes we may not hear so often in casual conversation. The sentence makes more sense if you watched the shootout; it means: Gerard Pique scored on Spain's second penalty kick, on a shot that deflected in off the post, but Ignashevich tricked the Spanish goalie into diving the wrong way to even the penalty kick score.
    – J.R.
    Jul 2, 2018 at 10:24

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