How Long are Soccer Games



If you’ve ever been glued to a soccer match, you may have wondered, “How long are soccer games?” Soccer, also known as football in many parts of the world, has a unique structure that dictates the length of a match. While the standard duration is often cited, various factors can extend the game. Let’s dive into soccer game durations, from regulation time to penalty shootouts.

Regulation Time

What is Regulation Time?

Regulation time refers to the standard duration of a soccer match, which is split into two halves. How Long are Soccer Games

Duration of Each Half

A typical soccer game consists of two 45-minute halves, making the total regulation time 90 minutes. This is the standard for most adult professional and international matches.

Half-Time Interval

There is a 15-minute half-time break between the two halves. This interval allows players to rest, coaches to strategize, and fans to grab refreshments.

Additional Time

Injury Time or Stoppage Time

In addition to the 90 minutes of regulation time, referees may add extra minutes known as stoppage or injury time. This accounts for any interruptions during the game, such as injuries, substitutions, or time-wasting.

How is Stoppage Time Calculated?

The referee tracks all stoppages and determines the appropriate additional time to be played at the end of each half. It’s typically between 1 and 5 minutes but can be more in certain circumstances.

Extra Time

When is Extra Time Used?

Extra time is used in knockout rounds of tournaments where a winner must be decided. If the match is tied at the end of regulation time, two additional 15-minute periods are played. How Long are Soccer Games

Duration of Extra Time

Extra time consists of two 15-minute halves, totaling 30 minutes. If the game remains tied after extra time, it proceeds to a penalty shootout.

Penalty Shootout

When Do Penalty Shootouts Occur?

Penalty shootouts occur when a match cannot end in a tie, such as in tournament knockout stages, and it remains tied after both regulation and extra time. How Long are Soccer Games

Rules of Penalty Shootouts

Each team selects five players to take alternate shots from the penalty mark. The team with the most goals after these five attempts wins. If the score is still tied, the shootout goes to sudden death.

Variations in Game Length

Youth Soccer Games

Youth soccer games often have shorter halves, varying by age group. For example, under-8 matches may have 20-minute halves, while under-12 games might feature 30-minute halves. How Long are Soccer Games

College Soccer Games

College soccer in the United States generally follows the 45-minute halves structure but includes sudden death overtime periods if the match is tied.

Professional Soccer Leagues

While most professional leagues adhere to the 90-minute regulation, depending on the competition, some may have specific rules for extra time and stoppage time.

Special Considerations

Weather Delays

Inclement weather can cause delays, leading to extended match durations. Lightning, heavy rain, or extreme heat might pause the game until conditions improve.

Major Tournament Regulations

Major tournaments like the FIFA World Cup have specific regulations for extra time and penalty shootouts to ensure a decisive outcome in the knockout stages.


Soccer games are designed to be engaging and unpredictable. They have a standard length of 90 minutes that can be extended by stoppage time, extra time, or penalty shootouts. Whether you’re watching a youth match or a World Cup final, understanding the timing can enhance your appreciation of the sport. Read more


How long is a typical soccer game?

A typical soccer game lasts 90 minutes, divided into two 45-minute halves, with additional stoppage time added at the referee’s discretion.

What is the longest soccer game ever played?

The longest recorded soccer game, lasting over 108 hours, took place in 2019. It was a charity event to raise funds for cancer research.

Why is stoppage time added?

Stoppage time compensates for any delays during the match, including injuries, substitutions, and other interruptions, ensuring the full 90 minutes of play.

How does extra time differ from stoppage time?

Extra time is additional play time used in knockout stages to determine a winner if the match is tied after regulation time, while stoppage time is added to account for in-game delays during each half.

Can a soccer game end in a tie?

Yes, a match can end in a tie after regulation time in league play and group stages of tournaments. However, extra time and penalty shootouts determine a winner in the knockout stages.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *