Team A lost by nil goal to 5 to team B in a soccer match. (I am not sure we say "lost by 5 goals to nil" or "lost by nil goal to 5").

Also, it seems that British people say "nil" and I am not sure what American people say for "nil". American may say "zero"?

And then the coach of team A says "We will win by 6 goals to nil against them. There is a first time for everything".

Is it correct to say "There is a first time for everything" in this context?

  • There is a first time for everything is usually used for something you don't expect to happen or are doubtful about. (Child "Can I go out? I've tidied my room!" Parent "Really? Well, there's a first time for everything!") Not clear if it applies here, or not.
    – Stuart F
    Commented Feb 24, 2023 at 11:35

2 Answers 2


An American would say "six-to-zero" or "six-to-nothing" or "six-zip". They wouldn't generally talk about goals, as it is understood from the context--the score of a soccer match is the number of goals for each side.

However, most soccer fans would certainly find "nil" understandable.

And yes, "there is a first time for everything" is fine, though perhaps a little awkward, though I don't have the full context.

  • 1
    I think a British person wouldn't need to mention goals in the context of talking about a match either - just "We lost five-nil". And A's coach might say "There's a first time for everything" if A have never beaten B yet. Commented Dec 25, 2021 at 13:15

"We lost five-nil", The word "nil" is the proper word in football (soccer) for describing a score. You don't need to mention "goals" since you know you are talking about a scoreline in a game of football.

In other sports "zero" or another word might be used. In tennis "love" is used for 0.

"There's a first time for everything" seems a little odd. No actual mistake, but it seems the coach is saying that they will win because next time they will be very lucky, and that is rather demotivating.

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