Tuesday, 23 Apr 2024

How Long is a Soccer Game? Understanding Regulation, Extra Time, and Penalties

how long does a standard futbol match last

The world of soccer has captured the attention of sports fans around the globe, and the upcoming World Cup has sparked curiosity and interest among Americans who are new to the sport. As we gear up for the tournament, it’s essential to understand the duration of a soccer game and how the regulations shape the outcome on the field.

How Long is a Game of Soccer?

A standard soccer game typically consists of two halves, each lasting 45 minutes, resulting in a total game time of 90 minutes. Unlike other sports, soccer doesn’t come to an abrupt halt when the clock hits these time markers.

The match’s clock continues to run, even when the ball is out of play, leading to the concept of stoppage time or added time. This additional time accounts for the stoppages during the game and ensures that all pauses and interruptions are considered.

Understanding Stoppage Time

Stoppage time is added at the end of each half to compensate for the time lost during pauses in play. Traditionally, a minute or two would be added to the first half, and three or four minutes to the second half. However, recent World Cups have seen a significant increase in added time.

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FIFA’s referees committee chairman, Pierluigi Collina, explained that the goal is to “offer more show” to spectators by adding extra time, taking into account goal celebrations and VAR interventions. During the 2022 World Cup, it became common to see added time of seven, eight, or even nine minutes.

The trend of extended stoppage time has continued into the 2023 World Cup, with matches frequently seeing five or more minutes added at the end of each half.

Regulation Time in the Knockout Stage

In the knockout stage of the World Cup, regulation time remains at 90 minutes for most matches. However, if a game ends in a draw, an additional 30 minutes divided into two 15-minute halves, known as extra time, is added.

During extra time, teams have the opportunity to break the deadlock and secure victory. However, if neither team manages to score during this period, the match moves to the final method of determining a winner: penalties.

Deciding the Winner Through Penalties

If a game is still tied after extra time, the teams proceed to a penalty shootout. Here’s how it works:

  • A coin toss determines which team takes the first penalty.
  • Each team takes five penalties alternately.
  • Different players must take each penalty.
  • The winner is determined once all ten penalties have been taken, with the team scoring more goals declared the winner.
  • If both teams have an equal number of goals after five penalties, the shootout continues in a sudden death format.
  • If necessary, the players take additional penalties until a winner is determined.
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Penalty shootouts add a thrilling element to the game, often deciding the fate of teams in high-stake matches.


Q: How long does a standard soccer game last?
A: A standard soccer game lasts for 90 minutes, divided into two halves of 45 minutes each.

Q: What is added time in soccer?
A: Added time, also known as stoppage time, is the additional minutes played at the end of each half to compensate for stoppages during the game.

Q: How is a winner determined in a knockout match?
A: In a knockout match, if the game is tied after 90 minutes, an extra 30 minutes of play, called extra time, is added. If a winner still cannot be determined, the match proceeds to a penalty shootout.


Understanding the duration and regulations of a soccer game enhances our enjoyment and appreciation of this beautiful sport. From the standard 90 minutes of play to the added excitement of stoppage time and the intensity of penalty shootouts, every minute of a soccer match holds the potential for unforgettable moments. So, grab your jersey, join the crowd, and get ready to be captivated by the drama and skill on display in the upcoming World Cup.

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