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Discover the Duration

A standard soccer game is divided into two halves, each lasting 45 minutes, making the total regular playing time 90 minutes.

Soccer, known as football in many parts of the world, is a sport with a rich history and a global following. One common question among new fans and those curious about the sport is, “How long does a soccer game go for?” Understanding the duration of a soccer match is essential for both players and spectators. In this article, we’ll dive into the specifics of a soccer game’s length, including variations across different levels and competitions. We’ll also explore related aspects that impact the game, ensuring you have a comprehensive understanding of soccer’s timing.

The Standard Duration of a Soccer Game

A standard soccer game is divided into two halves, each lasting 45 minutes, making the total regular playing time 90 minutes. However, the actual time spent on the field is often longer due to various factors. Let’s break down the key elements that contribute to the duration of a soccer game.

Regulation Time

Regulation time consists of two 45-minute halves with a 15-minute halftime break. This structure is consistent across most professional and amateur levels of the sport. The referee may add stoppage time, also known as injury time, at the end of each half to account for delays such as injuries, substitutions, or other interruptions.

Stoppage Time

  • Injury Delays: Time lost due to player injuries and treatment.
  • Substitutions: Time taken for player substitutions.
  • Other Interruptions: Time lost for other delays, such as goal celebrations or disciplinary actions.

Extra Time

In knockout competitions, if the score is tied at the end of regulation time, the game may proceed to extra time. Extra time consists of two 15-minute halves, making an additional 30 minutes of play. If the tie persists, the game may be decided by a penalty shootout.

Penalty Shootout

A penalty shootout is used to determine the winner when the match remains tied after extra time. Each team takes turns shooting from the penalty mark, with the team scoring the most goals declared the winner.

Variations in Game Duration

While the standard duration is 90 minutes, various factors can influence the length of a soccer game, including age groups, levels of play, and specific competition rules.

Youth Soccer

Youth soccer games often have shorter durations to accommodate the age and endurance levels of young players. Here’s a typical breakdown by age group:

  • Under-6 (U6): 20-minute halves
  • Under-8 (U8): 25-minute halves
  • Under-10 (U10): 30-minute halves
  • Under-12 (U12): 35-minute halves
  • Under-14 (U14): 40-minute halves

Professional Leagues

Professional soccer leagues, such as the English Premier League, La Liga, and Major League Soccer, follow the standard 90-minute format with stoppage and extra time as needed. However, tournament settings can introduce additional rules and modifications.

International Competitions

International competitions like the FIFA World Cup follow similar rules to professional leagues, with the inclusion of extra time and penalty shootouts in the knockout stages.

Factors Affecting Game Duration

Several factors can impact the actual time a soccer game takes, including weather conditions, the number of fouls, and the pace of play.

Weather Conditions

Adverse weather conditions such as rain, snow, or extreme heat can lead to delays and extended stoppage time. In some cases, matches may be paused or postponed due to severe weather.

Fouls and Free Kicks

Frequent fouls and the resulting free kicks can slow down the game, contributing to increased stoppage time. Additionally, disciplinary actions like yellow and red cards can cause further delays.

Pace of Play

The pace of play, determined by the teams’ strategies and styles, can affect the flow of the game. Teams that focus on possession and build-up play may create a more extended match experience compared to fast-paced, counter-attacking teams.

Importance of Game Duration in Soccer

Understanding the duration of a soccer game is crucial for various reasons, including strategic planning for coaches, physical preparation for players, and engagement for fans.

Strategic Planning

Coaches need to plan their strategies based on the game’s duration, including managing player fatigue, making timely substitutions, and preparing for potential extra time.

Physical Preparation

Players must be physically prepared to endure the game’s length, including the possibility of extra time. This preparation involves conditioning, nutrition, and recovery strategies.

Fan Engagement

For fans, knowing the game duration helps in planning their viewing experience, whether they are watching live in a stadium or on television. It also enhances their understanding and appreciation of the game’s dynamics.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long is a soccer game including stoppage time?

While the standard regulation time is 90 minutes, stoppage time typically adds an additional 2 to 5 minutes per half, depending on the number of delays.

How long does extra time last in soccer?

Extra time consists of two 15-minute halves, totaling 30 minutes. If the match remains tied after extra time, a penalty shootout follows.

What is the longest recorded soccer game?

The longest recorded soccer game was a charity match played in 2015 in Southampton, England, lasting 108 hours. However, in official competitions, extra time and penalty shootouts can extend a match significantly.

Does the game duration differ in women’s soccer?

No, the game duration in women’s soccer is the same as in men’s soccer, with two 45-minute halves, stoppage time, and extra time as necessary.

How is stoppage time determined?

The referee determines stoppage time based on the delays that occur during each half. This includes time lost due to injuries, substitutions, and other interruptions.


Understanding “how long does a soccer game go for” involves more than just knowing the regulation 90 minutes. Various factors, including stoppage time, extra time, and the nature of the competition, play crucial roles in determining the total duration. Whether you are a player, coach, or fan, appreciating the intricacies of soccer’s timing enhances your experience and engagement with this beloved sport. So, next time you tune into a soccer match, you’ll have a deeper understanding of the game’s flow and timing.

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