Tuesday, 23 Apr 2024

Overtime in Soccer – The Rules and How It Works

what is overtime called in soccer

Many sports use overtime to determine the outcome of a game when there is no clear winner. But what about soccer? Does soccer have overtime? The answer is yes, soccer does have overtime, also known as extra time. When a game ends in a tie at the end of regulation time, both teams will play for two extra 15-minute periods with a one-minute break allowed between the two periods.

When Overtime is Used in Soccer

Overtime has been a part of soccer’s rulebooks since 1897. Initially, the next goal would determine the winner during overtime. However, there were instances when neither team could score, and the overtime alone went on for over 3 hours! Nowadays, overtime is played in situations when the game ends in a tie and a clear winner must be determined.

overtime in soccer

Most Soccer Competitions Use Overtime at Some Point

In major soccer competitions, overtime is used if needed to determine a winner. Whether it’s the FIFA World Cup, the MLS playoffs, or other soccer competitions, overtime is utilized in the knockout stages when there must be a clear winner. However, in league games, a tie is acceptable, and there is no need for overtime.

Soccer Overtime Rules

The rules of overtime in soccer are similar to the rules governing the rest of the game. Here are the key rules:

  • Overtime lasts for a total of 30 minutes, split into two 15-minute periods.
  • A one-minute break is permitted between the two halves.
  • Stoppage time can be added to the end of each period.
  • The team with the highest scoreline at the end of overtime wins the game.
  • If the game is tied at the end of overtime, a penalty shootout determines the winner.
  • Substitutions are allowed during overtime.
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The Use of “Golden Goal” in Overtime

In the past, the “golden goal” rule was used during overtime. The team that scored the next goal would win the game. However, this rule was widely abandoned in 2003 due to its impact on the game tactics. Now, no major soccer tournament uses the golden goal rule.

“Overtime” Is Not the Only Term Used

In North America, the period of extra time is commonly referred to as “overtime.” In other countries, it is generally known as “extra time.” The term “overtime” aligns with the terminology used in other North American sports that also have a period of overtime.

The Difference Between Stoppage Time and Overtime

Stoppage time and overtime are both additional periods of time added at the end of a game, but they serve different purposes. Stoppage time compensates for stoppages occurring throughout each half of the game, while overtime consists of two separate 15-minute periods played when the game ends in a tie.

Understanding the rules and nuances of soccer can be fascinating. If you’re interested in learning more about the beautiful game, check out our recent articles on the Pesstatsdatabase website. And don’t forget to explore our glossary of soccer terminology and our guide to the rules of soccer.


Q: Does soccer have overtime?
A: Yes, soccer does have overtime, also known as extra time. It is played when the game ends in a tie, and both teams play for two additional 15-minute periods.

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Q: How is the winner determined in overtime?
A: The team with the highest scoreline at the end of overtime is declared the winner. If the game is still tied, a penalty shootout determines the winner.

Q: Do all major soccer competitions use overtime?
A: Yes, most major soccer competitions use overtime when a winner needs to be determined at the end of a specific game.

Q: What is the difference between stoppage time and overtime?
A: Stoppage time is added at the end of each half of the game to compensate for stoppages, while overtime consists of two separate 15-minute periods played when the game ends in a tie.


Overtime in soccer adds an extra layer of excitement and tension to the game. It provides both teams with an opportunity to break the deadlock and determine a clear winner. Understanding the rules of overtime helps fans appreciate the strategic decisions and skills displayed during these crucial moments of the game. So next time you watch a soccer match that goes into overtime, you’ll have a deeper appreciation for the drama unfolding on the field.