Friday, 19 July 2024
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How Long is a Soccer Game?

How Long is a Soccer Game

The game of soccer is a thrilling ride with constant engagement on and off the pitch. The duration of a game largely decides its outcome and popularity. Today, if soccer is the most popular game on the planet, it’s because of the game tempo and duration, which perfectly fits most fans. This being the most popular sport, the question How long is a soccer game?’ arises very rarely. It is very well known that the game of soccer is for 90 minutes, with two halves. The halftime takes place in the 45th minute, where both teams go for a break, and the next half starts with the change of field positions of both the teams. 


The Underlying Rule of Soccer 


The rules of soccer are the ones that make the game more exciting. The teams get extra time throughout the game at the end of both halves, which means extra time after the 45th minute and the 90th minute. The game is usually extended for 1-5 minutes, depending upon the activities in the match. The injury-time stoppage can sometimes be as long as 8-10 minutes if there are more interruptions between the game. These extra time stoppages have decided the course and the final results of the game as a goal scored in the dying minutes of the game leaves the scoring team with many advantages and the conceding team with very little time to respond to it. 


Understanding Soccer Durations in a Detailed Analysis 


There are other instances in the game as well, where the game’s duration depends upon the type of competition the teams are playing in. Usually, a soccer game ends after 90 minutes with added extra time. Still, in certain competitions, the games are extended to 120 minutes of total time, which means 30 minutes of extra time with two halves of 15 minutes each. One half ends at 105th minute, and the game ends after the 120th minute. Commonly, league matches are played for 90 minutes, and even if the game ends in a draw after 90 minutes, the match is declared a draw. 


But this is not the case in knockout matches such as in continental competitions, cup matches, or the FIFA World Cup. There are several phases of these competitions as well. Not every game of these competitions is a knockout match. These competitions have a group stage where the 90+30 minutes extra time doesn’t follow in a draw. But the 30 minutes of extra time comes into play once the teams advance from the group stage to the Round of 16 or the Quarter Finals. 


Different Types of Tournaments and How they affect the Duration


Cup matches are knockout matches all along, which means that they are out of the competition if a team loses the first match. But Cup matches being knockout tournaments also imply that the game doesn’t end in a draw as there has to be a winner from all the fixtures. Hence, if a match ended as a draw even after the 90th minute and added extra time, the game is set to have 30 minutes of added extra time or a golden goal, or a direct penalty shootout after the 90th minute, or a penalty shootout after the 120th minute if the game still stands as a draw. Several competitions follow the current 30 minutes added extra time in knockout matches. 


Length of the Game for Different Levels 


The length of a soccer game has also been experimented with and applied in the history of soccer. There are different levels of soccer set according to age groups and gender. Junior category soccer tournaments often have less playing time, such as two halves of 20 minutes each. There are other variations of soccer as well, such as beach soccer, futsal, 7-A side soccer, etc. All these variations have different durations as well. The respective global authority devises these durations, and the game durations for the youth level can be decided for the governing body of a country. 




Though the current 90 minutes and the well-devised extra times are set very well with the audience, there have been discussions of reducing the time from 90 minutes to a lesser period by several influential persons in football. But these ideas and reform ideas have been widely criticized, and as of now, the 90 minutes’ game format will stick to the game.

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