How long are world cup soccer games ? If you’re getting ready to make your viewing plans for the 2023 FIFA World Cup, then there’s one very important question that’s probably on your mind: how long is a soccer match? Fortunately, the timing is one of the easiest parts of the game to follow. Matches stick to a specific schedule, without a bunch of interruptions, and the standard time is the same for the World Cup as it is for “regular season” games.
How Long Is a Soccer Game?
According to the rules of the game, as laid out by the International Football Association Board (IFAB), a standard soccer match lasts for 90 minutes of gameplay.
This is divided into two equal halves of 45 minutes each. Additionally, there is one halftime break that is allowed to last for no more than 15 minutes.
If the game goes into extra time (more on that in a moment), another one-minute “drinks break” is allowed at the “halftime” of the extra period. The timing of both men’s and women’s soccer is the same, and the rules remain the same for the Olympics, for the World Cup, and for “regular” games outside of these major tournaments.
Is There Overtime in Soccer?
In “regular” soccer games — outside of tournaments like the Olympics or the World Cup — soccer doesn’t usually go into “overtime.” If a game is tied at the end of the 90 minutes of regular play, it simply ends in a tie. Soccer, unlike many other sports, does allow for games to end in a tie, and the ranking systems have ways to reflect that.
At tournaments where a winner must be determined (i.e. at the World Cup), soccer does have overtime rules. In those cases, if a match is tied at the end of the regulation 90 minutes of gameplay, the game goes into an extra period, or what other sports might call “overtime.”
According to current FIFA rules, this extra period consists of two, 15-minute periods added on at the end of regulation time, with the above-mentioned mini-halftime of a one-minute drinks break.
If the game is still tied at the end of these 30 minutes of extra play, then the game’s outcome will be determined by a penalty shootout.
Can Time Be Added to Soccer Games?
While the official gameplay for a given match must be exactly 90 minutes, that doesn’t mean that it’s played straight through with no stops, starts, or resets. According to IFAB’s rules, referees can make allowances for time “lost” through various events in each half. The list includes:
- assessment and/or removal of injured players
- wasting time
- disciplinary sanctions
- medical stoppages permitted by competition rules, e.g. “drinks” breaks
- (which should not exceed one minute) and “cooling” breaks (ninety seconds to three minutes)
- delays relating to video assistant referee (VAR) checks and reviews
- any other cause, including any significant delay to a restart (e.g. goal celebrations)
These choices are largely left to the discretion of the referees. The only other main “rule” is that a timekeeping error in the first half cannot be compensated for by adding extra time to the second half. Also worth noting: there are no timeouts for the team to huddle and discuss strategy, as is common in other sports.
Does TV Affect the Length of Soccer Games?
Technically, no. Being televised doesn’t really impact the actual length of soccer matches. The rules lay out how long the gameplay lasts and how long halftime lasts, so it’s not as if broadcasters can change those things. Most soccer matches are broadcast straight through, without commercial breaks — which is very different from how some other sports, like American football or baseball, are broadcast.
How many minutes in a soccer match at the World Cup? Explaining how long each game lasts
It doesn’t get much bigger than the World Cup.
Soccer’s grandest competition draws plenty of eyes across the globe, with everyone hoping to catch a glimpse of one of sports’ most memorable events. This year has been no exception, with hundreds of millions tuning in to catch the action as it unfolds in Qatar.
It’s been a famous World Cup, one filled to the brim with momentous upsets, Cinderella runs, top-tier goals and, perhaps most importantly, superstars competing at the peak of their powers.
As the iconic tournament reaches its conclusion, it’s easy to get lost in all the hoopla. There’s a whole lot of glitz and a whole lot of glamor attached to the spectacle that is the World Cup. But at the end of the day, it’s all about the soccer. Within those lines, anything goes. That’s what gets the real attention.
Speaking of the game, just how long is it? It’s easy to lose track of, especially as matches descend into shocking levels of dysfunction (we’re looking at you, Argentina vs. Netherlands).
How does stoppage time work?
Stoppage time refers to the time the referee tacks on at the end of each half to make up for time lost earlier in a half due to things like injury treatment or video reviews.
So, if play is stopped for, say, five minutes due to a player receiving injury treatment, the referee would then add five minutes of stoppage time after the clock hits 45 minutes.
Are there ties in World Cup?
Nothing grinds Americans’ gears more than ties. Nevertheless, the zero-sum nature of American sports doesn’t always mix too well with the more egalitarian spoils sometimes enjoyed in the game of soccer.
The draw is a part of the World Cup, particularly in the group stages. Remember when Americans thought the USMNT were headed for World Cup glory after snagging a point against a dull England side earlier in the competition?
Nevertheless, in the knockout stages, draws won’t cut it anymore. Instead, games that end deadlocked go into extra time and, potentially, a drama-filled penalty shootout, the type of event that truly holds your breath hostage.
On one hand, it’s quite nerve-wracking. On the other, it makes for plenty of entertainment — and ensures that there is one winner and one loser in each knockout stage match. Just like Americans like it.
How does overtime work in soccer?
Once games hit the knockout stage, they have to be decided one way or another. The first way affairs can be handled is through extra time, two 15-minute halves that serve as soccer’s play on overtime.
It’s not sudden death; think more NBA than NFL or NHL. Whoever has the lead after the 30 minutes of extra time is declared the winner.
If both teams remain tied after extra time, the game will be sent to the spirit-breaking crapshoot that is the penalty shootout. It’s not for the faint of heart.
How Long Is Soccer Halftime at the World Cup?
With the 2022 FIFA men’s World Cup in full force, casual soccer fans might wonder how long halftime is during a soccer match.
Halftime is set at 15 minutes between the first half and second half, according to The Football Association. The time does not exceed 15 minutes.
There will not be any halftime performances at the World Cup, meaning these 15 minutes are solely for the teams to have a water break and strategize with each other.
In a soccer match, halftime marks the only time in which the clock is fully stopped. The 45-minute halves can last longer than the allotted time due to stoppage time, which is time added onto the half for any stoppage of play based on injuries, substitutions or any other pauses in the game. However, the game clock does not stop during those circumstances.
So, soccer fans typically know how long to expect a match to last. A soccer match runs for an hour and 45 minutes with halftime included, but that time is expected to go at least a few minutes past with the stoppage time included.
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