How Long a soccer game

 Welcome to our comprehensive guide on the duration of soccer games! Soccer, also known as football in many parts of the world, is undoubtedly the most popular sport on the planet. With its fervent fan base and thrilling gameplay, soccer has captivated hearts and minds across borders, cultures, and generations.

One common question that arises among those new to the sport or even seasoned fans is, "How long is a soccer game?" Understanding the duration of a soccer match is crucial not only for fans eager to plan their viewing schedules but also for players, coaches, and referees to ensure fair play and strategic game management.

In this blog post, we will explore the standard duration of a soccer game, the factors that can influence its length, and the variations in game duration across different levels of play. Additionally, we'll delve into the concept of injury time, overtime, and penalty shootouts, shedding light on how these elements can impact the outcome of a match.

How long a soccer game

How Long a soccer game?

We will explore the typical length of a soccer game, the concept of regulation time, and the significance of the half-time break.

  Regulation Time: 

90 Minutes Soccer matches are typically played in two halves, with each half lasting 45 minutes. This regulation time amounts to a total of 90 minutes. The clock runs continuously during each half, and the primary objective for teams is to score goals while trying to prevent their opponents from doing the same.

 Injury Time (Stoppage Time)

Despite the structured 90-minute duration, soccer is a dynamic sport, and interruptions can occur during the game. Common reasons for stoppages include injuries to players, substitutions, and time-wasting tactics employed by teams trying to maintain a lead. To account for these delays and ensure fairness, the referee has the authority to add extra time to each half, known as injury time or stoppage time.

    Reasons for Adding Extra Time

    Injury time is added to compensate for the minutes lost due to stoppages during the half. It allows players to make up for the time spent on injuries or other game delays, ensuring that the match is played for the full 45 minutes per half (plus additional time if needed).

    Role of the Referee in Determining Injury Time

    The referee holds the responsibility of determining the amount of injury time to be added at the end of each half. The decision is based on their observations of stoppages and delays during the game. The fourth official on the sideline often assists the referee in this process.

 Half-Time Break

At the end of the first 45-minute half, a brief intermission known as the half-time break occurs. During this time, players have a chance to rest, hydrate, and receive tactical instructions from their coaches. The half-time interval usually lasts for 15 minutes.

    Duration of the Half-Time Interval

    While the standard duration for the half-time break is 15 minutes, the actual length may vary slightly based on the competition's rules or other logistical considerations. In some cases, the break may be extended by a minute or two.

    Activities During Half-Time

    The half-time break is a crucial period for teams to regroup, assess their performance, and make strategic adjustments. Coaches often use this time to address areas that need improvement and motivate their players for the second half. Additionally, fans watching the game at the stadium or on television use this opportunity to refresh themselves and engage in discussions about the match.

Youth Soccer Games

Youth soccer, catering to players under the age of 18, often employs shorter game lengths compared to professional matches. The rationale behind reducing game time for younger players is to prioritize their safety, enjoyment, and developmental needs.

    Shorter Game Lengths for Different Age Groups

        For very young players (e.g., under 6 or under 8), games may be as short as 20-30 minutes per half.

        As players get older, game lengths may gradually increase, such as 40-45 minutes per half for under 12 or under 14.

  Lower League and Amateur Matches

In lower-tier leagues and amateur competitions, flexibility regarding game duration may exist. While many follow the standard 90-minute format, some leagues might choose to reduce game times to accommodate scheduling constraints or player availability.

    Flexibility in Game Duration

        Matches in lower leagues might be shortened to 80 or 70 minutes per game, split into two halves, depending on league rules and agreements.

  Soccer Competitions and Formats

Different soccer competitions and tournament formats can also impact game durations. The intensity of knockout stages, the presence of extra time, and the need for tiebreakers can all influence how long a match will last.

    Cup Matches

        In knockout cup competitions, such as the FA Cup or Copa del Rey, games are often decided in a single match. If the match ends in a draw after regulation time, additional periods, such as extra time and penalty shootouts, are used to determine a winner.

    Tournaments and League Games

        Soccer tournaments, like the FIFA World Cup or UEFA European Championship, have unique structures. Teams play a series of matches, and the tournament progresses through different stages (group stage, knockout stage) until a winner is crowned.

    Tiebreaker Procedures

        In knockout stages, if a winner must be determined, extra time is played, consisting of two halves of 15 minutes each. If the score remains level after extra time, a penalty shootout is used to decide the winner.

How Time Is Kept During a Soccer Game

The timekeeping in soccer is handled by the match officials, with the primary referee responsible for keeping track of the game's duration. Two main timekeeping instruments are employed:

    The Official Game Clock

        The official game clock is visible to players, coaches, and spectators, displaying the elapsed time in each half. The clock continues to run during regular play and stops only during halftime and the interval between regular time and extra time or penalty shootouts, if applicable.

 Factors Leading to Extended Game Duration

Soccer's fluid nature often gives rise to situations that can delay the game. While some delays are unavoidable, others may be intentional, introduced strategically to gain an advantage or preserve a lead.

  •     Injuries to Players

        When a player sustains an injury, the referee may pause the game to allow for medical attention and ensure the player's safety. The time spent attending to the injured player is added as injury time at the end of the half.

  •     Substitutions

        Substitutions are an integral part of soccer, providing teams with fresh legs and tactical adjustments. However, the process of substitution can eat into game time, particularly if players are slow to leave the field or if multiple substitutions occur simultaneously.

  •     Goal Celebrations

        Celebrating a goal is an exhilarating moment for players and fans alike. However, prolonged celebrations can lead to time-wasting and may result in injury time being added.

  •     Time-Wasting Tactics

        In tense situations, teams may employ time-wasting tactics to preserve a lead or run down the clock. This can include delaying throw-ins, goal kicks, or free kicks, all of which can extend the game's duration.

Coaches' Role in Managing Game Duration

Effective time management in soccer is not only about keeping track of the clock but also making strategic decisions that can influence the outcome of a match. Coaches play a pivotal role in guiding their teams through the ebb and flow of game time, optimizing performance, and capitalizing on crucial moments.

Deciding When to Attack or Defend

  •     Attack:

    Knowing when to push forward and take offensive risks is an art in soccer. Coaches must gauge the match's circumstances, the scoreline, and the opposition's vulnerabilities to determine the optimal moments to launch attacks. This calculated aggression can lead to crucial goals and turning points in the game.

  •     Defend:

    On the flip side, recognizing when to prioritize defensive stability is equally vital. Defending a lead or holding off a relentless opponent requires strategic discipline. Coaches must make timely adjustments to formations and defensive tactics to protect their team's advantage.

Using Substitutions Strategically

  •     Impact Players:

    Coaches can utilize substitutions to inject fresh energy into the game. Bringing on impact players, particularly in the latter stages of a match, can swing the momentum in their team's favor and catch the opposition off guard.

  •     Tactical Adjustments:

    Substitutions also offer an opportunity for coaches to make tactical changes. Altering the formation, introducing a new playing style, or strengthening a specific area of the field can help exploit the opponent's weaknesses or counter their strengths.

Time Management for Leading and Trailing Teams

Leading Teams

  •     Possession and Game Control:

    When ahead on the scoreboard, leading teams often focus on controlling possession and dictating the game's tempo. By keeping the ball, they limit the opponent's opportunities and force them to chase the game, wearing them down both physically and mentally.

  •     Managing Injury Time:

    Leading teams may employ time-wasting tactics, such as slow substitutions and delaying restarts, to eat into injury time. While this can frustrate the opposing team and their fans, it is a legal strategy within the rules of the game.

Trailing Teams

  •     Increased Offensive Pressure:

    Trailing teams typically take more risks and adopt an aggressive approach to find an equalizer or a winning goal. This can lead to thrilling end-to-end action, as they throw everything forward in search of a positive result.

  •     Tactical Adjustments:

    Coaches of trailing teams may opt for bold tactical changes, such as adopting a more attacking formation or introducing additional forwards. The goal is to create more scoring opportunities while being mindful of the risks of leaving spaces open in defense.

Fan Perspective:

 Experiencing the Ebb and Flow of Game Time

 Emotional Rollercoaster

For fans, soccer's time management brings about a rollercoaster of emotions. Each second can feel like an eternity, and the anticipation of injury time and potential late goals can be nerve-wracking. The joy of celebrating a last-minute winner or the agony of conceding in stoppage time creates unforgettable memories for supporters.

Appreciating the Artistry

Understanding the strategic elements of time management allows fans to appreciate the artistry behind soccer's dynamics. Observing how teams navigate through time, adapt their play, and make critical decisions adds depth to the spectator experience.


In conclusion, the duration of a soccer game is not merely about minutes and halves, but an intricately woven tapestry of excitement and strategy. From the standard 90 minutes to injury time, soccer's timekeeping elements add depth and drama to the sport. Coaches' decisions, players' performances, and fans' emotions converge in a timeless symphony of passion and unity. 


How many hours is a soccer game?

A soccer game typically lasts for 90 minutes. This duration is divided into two halves of 45 minutes each, with a brief half-time break of approximately 15 minutes. However, the total time can vary due to the addition of injury time (stoppage time) at the end of each half to compensate for any delays that occurred during regular play.

How long does it take to play a full soccer game?

A full soccer game takes about 90 minutes, split into two halves of 45 minutes each, plus injury time.

How many minutes is a FIFA soccer game?

A FIFA soccer game lasts for 90 minutes, divided into two halves of 45 minutes each, plus additional injury time.

How many rounds are there in soccer?

In soccer, there are typically two rounds in a match: the first half and the second half. Each round lasts for 45 minutes.

Why is there extra time in soccer?

Extra time is added in soccer to compensate for stoppages during regulation time and ensure a fair playing duration.

Are there 4 quarters in soccer?

No, there are no quarters in soccer; matches are divided into two halves, each lasting 45 minutes.

How long is a professional soccer field?

A professional soccer field is typically 100 to 110 meters (328 to 360 feet) long, and its width is 64 to 75 meters (210 to 246 feet).

How long is a kids soccer game?

A kids' soccer game is generally shorter than the standard adult game, with varying durations based on age groups, usually ranging from 20 to 40 minutes per half.

What happens when soccer game is 0-0? 

When a soccer game ends with a score of 0-0, it is referred to as a "goalless draw" or "nil-nil draw." It means that neither team scored any goals during the match, resulting in a tie.


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