What is Nutmeg in Soccer? – Learn Some Basics and Advanced Moves

John Lochert


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We agree that there are some more skills that you can apply to deceive a defender, but the nutmeg is the skill that humiliates the defenders most. The crowd enjoys this moves a lot too.

So what is nutmeg or panna in soccer?

In soccer when a player directs the ball between the legs of his opposition player then it is referred as nutmeg move or panna.

In real life, mostly a forward or a midfield player tends to nutmeg his opposition defender, but this is one of the skills that any player of any position can learn and apply during the play.


While anyone can learn this skill, does not mean this is an easy skill to implement. We are going to talk about some basic nutmeg skills later in this article. Before that let’s find out the origin of the term “Nutmeg” in soccer.

Origin of the Word “Nutmeg”

It’s a point of debate!

Yes, you read it right.

According to Wikipedia Alex Leith wrote in his book “Over the Moon, Brian – The Language of Football”

Nuts refer to the testicles of the player through whose legs the ball has been passed, and nutmeg is just a development from this.

On the other hand, the Guardian readers Suggested some more reasons behind calling this move as “nutmeg.”

What are they?

I’ve always assumed it was because the sight of the football squeezing through the bandy legs of a defender calls to mind the image of a nut between the jaws of a nutcracker. But I could be wrong.

From personal experience, I believe it could be called a nutmeg because after it has occurred, you have the tendency to quickly cross your legs together and hence crack your “nuts.”


People are presenting the origin of the term “nutmeg” based on their perception.

Whatever the actual explanation is this is one of those skills soccer players love to do, and the crowd loves to see.

As we told earlier that nutmeg could be done by any player of any position. But this is a perfect move for a left or right forward or midfielder against the opposition defender.


There are multiple reasons behind this.

  • When a forward or midfielder is in attacking mode that is the time when a defender tends to come forward more aggressively to take over the control of the ball. That is the perfect time to do the nutmeg. We will tell the reason. Wait a minute.
  • A forward or midfielder tries to nutmeg the opposition defender at the moment when they are near to the sideline; Even if the forward or midfielder misses to deceive his opponent, there is a chance to win a throw-in or corner. How? We are going to tell that too.

Let’s first discuss why it is the best time to do when a defender tries to snatch the ball aggressively from a forward.

  • It is because that is the best time to make a mistake by the defender. The forward needs to keep his head cool. Then there is a 90% possibility to deceive the opposition defender.
  • To fool the defender and pass the ball through his legs a forward needs some spaces between him and the defender.
  • It is because, to complete this move the forward needs to use both of his legs. The very basic nutmeg move requires the striker to move the ball a bit forward with his dominating leg, and right at the moment the defender feels like the ball is out of the striker’s control then he will approach to get the control of the ball.Right at that moment, there is 90% chance that there will be space between defender’s two legs. That is the place through which the striker passes the ball with his weaker leg and deceives the defender.

Sounds logical?

That is why it is the best time to nutmeg a defender when he tries to snatch the ball from his opposition striker.

We claimed that if a striker or a midfielder does it near the sideline, there is a big chance to win a throw-in or corner.

How and why?

It is because even if a forward player misses to pass the ball between the two legs of his opposition defender, there is a high chance that the ball will hit the defender’s leg and at that moment the defender will have no control to stop the ball. As a result, the ball will go outside the line, resulting in throw-in or corner kick.

Now what?

Do you want to learn some basic techniques of nutmegging?

Let’s learn some.

We are going to teach three very basic panna moves. After that, we will add some videos on more advanced moves.

Basic Panna 1

Roll the ball towards your weak foot.

By this time there is a big chance that your opponent will spread his legs. If you find your opponent is spreading his legs, don’t waste your time. Just pass the ball through his legs by your weaker foot.

Basic Nutmeg 2

This time you will use only your dominant foot.

Touch the ball lightly with the inside part of your foot.

Now if you find your opponent somehow spreading his legs, pass the ball through his legs using the outside part of your dominant foot.

Basic Panna 3

This time also you will use only your dominant foot.

Better if you are running towards your opponent.

When you are close to your opponent, just stop the ball with your foot.

Turn around while putting your dominant foot on the ball.

Then drag the ball through the opening space between your opponent’s legs.

Learned the basics?

There are some more advanced techniques that you can learn. We are going to provide you some of the videos that we found helpful to learn some advanced panna moves.

Before that here are some tips that you should keep in mind before nutmegging your opponent.

  • Don’t be too predictable. If you try to let your opponent know that you are going to nutmeg him, then there is a big chance that you will not be successful to deceive him.
  • Always keep a close look to your opponent’s legs. The moment he gives enough space to pass the ball through, utilize the opportunity.
  • Pretend like you are going to do something else like passing the ball to your teammates or racing down the line to cross the ball. As a result deceiving your opponent will be comparatively easier task to accomplish.
  • Keep in mind that when your opponent is eager to regain the possession that is the best time to nutmeg him. So welcome his eagerness and deceive him.
  • Forcing the defender to step up and spread his legs are the key here.

Some of the Advanced Nutmeg Moves Videos

[su_youtube url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yPeOCWkfqLM”]

[su_youtube url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VqJ3op_J9DI”]

Do you want to enjoy top 10 humiliating nutmegs of the real world star players? Watch the following video

[su_youtube url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FnVS0jSCn1I”]


Hope you got your answer and already you are quite clear about the nutmeg skill. If you can follow the tips plus the basic and advanced lessons that we included here with videos and practice accordingly, then you can start nutmegging now in real life.

At first, you will make mistakes.

Accept it.

Eventually, you will have full control on this move.

Do you need any particular ball to do the practice for this move? Not really. But you should choose the perfect ball size based on your age, level, and usage of the ball.

Not sure which ball to choose? Visit our comprehensive guide to learn and buy the popular soccer balls reviews online.

Happy nutmegging!