The Full Breakdown: How Long Does a Soccer Match Last?

how long is a soccer match

Millions of people watch football, sometimes referred to as football outside of North America, for its unique combination of endurance, talent, and strategy. “How long is a soccer match?” is a key question for any newbie to the game. Even though it seems simple, a few subtleties in the solution are worth considering.

how long is a soccer match

The Standard Duration

Two halves, each lasting 45 minutes, make up a typical football match with 90 minutes of normal time. This is the same for most regular football matches, international matches, and professional leagues. The majority of professional and amateur leagues worldwide use the same 90-minute format. There is a halftime break, typically fifteen minutes, between the two halves. Before taking the pitch for the second half, players can use this time to refuel, plan, and relax.

Halftime Interval

There is a halftime interval between the two halves, typically lasting 15 minutes. This break allows players to rest, receive coaching, and strategize for the second half.

Added Time

The actual time played frequently surpasses the 90-minute limit because of “added time” or “injury time.” Extra time makes up for disruptions throughout the game, including injuries, alternatives, squandering time, and other issues. The additional time is determined by the referee, who is responsible for recording these stoppages and making the announcement after each half.

Extra Time

If there is a tie at the end of the regular 90 minutes in a competition that has a final stage where a match needs to produce a winner, the game may proceed into extra time. The additional time is divided into two 15-minute halves for 30 minutes. After extra time, if the game is still tied, penalties are frequently used to decide the winner.

Penalty Shootouts

If the score is still tied after extra time, penalty shootouts dramatically end the game. Every team alternates with another team to choose five players to attempt a penalty kick. After these five rounds of shooting, if there is still a tie, the match moves on to sudden death, in which each team takes one penalty at a time until one team scores and the other does not.

The Effects of Important Competitions

Stoppage time regulations may vary for major competitions like the FIFA World Cup. For example, officials were told to strictly add stoppage time during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 to guarantee more active playtime.

The Entire Length

Considering all of these variables, a football match that concludes in regulation time can last about two hours. The entire time might take up to two hours and thirty minutes or more with extra time and penalties.

Differences in the Length of the Match

Even though the 90-minute timeframe is typical for competitive and professional matches, there are some exceptions:

Youth Football Matches: Depending on the age category, the length of the match can change. Under-12 games, for instance, might feature two 30-minute halves, whereas under-14 games would have two 35-minute halves.

Friendly Matches: The teams and officials participating might decide on a different duration for friendly matches, which are unrivaled and frequently utilized for charity or practice.

Reduced Formats: There are other varieties, such as small-sided games, which can last even less time, and futsal (indoor football), which usually lasts two 20-minute halves.


There’s more to comprehending a football match’s duration than knowing it lasts 90 minutes. A game may be prolonged by extra time, penalty shootouts, and added time, which heightens the drama and unpredictable nature of the sport. The fluid tempo of football guarantees that every match is distinct and exciting, whether you’re watching a high-stakes international final or a youth match. You’ll be more aware of how long a game might truly last and why the next time you sit down to watch it.

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