Soccer Game Duration: Your Complete Guide to Match Lengths

In This Article
In the world of soccer, comprehending the duration of a game is fundamental. From the pulse of regulation time to the nuances of added minutes, exploring the length of soccer matches unveils the essence of this thrilling sport. This section delves into the core aspects that define and influence the duration of soccer games.

Rules of Soccer: Game Duration and Timing

In a standard professional soccer match, there are two halves, each lasting 45 minutes, with a 15-minute halftime. Different leagues may vary in their timings. Youth leagues typically feature shorter durations, such as high school matches with two 40-minute halves or four 20-minute quarters. Meanwhile, youth soccer games often consist of two 20-minute halves or four 10-minute quarters.

Additional Time

The referee has the authority to compensate for lost time caused by substitutions, injuries, or intentional time-wasting by a team. This rule was introduced to counteract instances where players would deliberately delay the game, feign injuries, or take excessive time with substitutions, especially when in the lead. Consequently, the referee can now add this lost time to the end of the period.
Additionally, the end of a period can be prolonged to accommodate a penalty kick, if necessary.

A Tie Game

When the score remains tied at the conclusion of the second period, the subsequent course of action can vary based on the regulations of the soccer league. Some leagues consider the game a draw at this point, ending it there. In other leagues, they might proceed directly to penalty kicks. For instance, in FIFA World Cup Soccer, an overtime period is played first before moving on to penalty kicks.

Overtime in World Cup FIFA

In FIFA World Cup matches, if the score remains tied at the end of the regular 90 minutes (two 45-minute halves), extra time or overtime is played. This additional time consists of two periods of 15 minutes each. If the score remains tied after this extra time, the match proceeds to a penalty shootout to determine the winner. The overtime period in the FIFA World Cup allows teams more playing time to break the tie before resorting to penalty kicks.
In instances of a tie, additional periods, typically two periods of 15 minutes each, may be added to determine the winner.

Penalty Kicks

Often, the winner of a tied game is decided by penalty kicks. Typically, each team takes five shots on goal in alternating turns, with different players taking each shot. The team with the most successful shots after these five attempts wins. Additional rounds of penalty kicks can be added if the tie persists.


Let’s summarize, the duration of a professional soccer match typically comprises two 45-minute periods separated by a 15-minute halftime. Variations exist across leagues, with youth and high school games featuring shorter periods. The referee has the authority to add time lost due to substitutions, injuries, or deliberate time-wasting, adjusting the period’s end accordingly.
In the event of a tied game, different leagues employ diverse resolution methods, ranging from calling the game a draw to proceeding directly to penalty kicks. In prestigious tournaments like the FIFA World Cup, overtime periods of 15 minutes each might precede penalty kicks to determine the winner.
Ultimately, if a tie persists, penalty kicks often decide the victor, with each team taking five shots in alternating turns. The team with the most successful shots typically emerges triumphant, though more shots can be taken if required to break the tie.


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