How Long Does a Soccer Game Last? FIFA World Cup

logo by Editorial Staff | Posted on December 18th, 2022

Are you an avid soccer fan who wants to know how long the world cup games last? If so, you’ve come to the right place! This blog post will discuss the length of a typical soccer game during the world cup. Read on to learn more!

The Basics of A Soccer Game

The rules of FIFA, the international governing body of soccer, govern soccer games. According to these regulations, a typical professional soccer match is 90 minutes long, divided into two 45-minute halves.

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The referee is responsible for keeping track of the time, and they have the authority to make any necessary adjustments. During each half, play is stopped for a few minutes for halftime and any injuries.

In addition, a few other rules must be followed in a soccer game. Each team is allowed up to 11 players at once, including a goalkeeper. Any substitutions must be made during halftime or after an injury. The ball must always remain inside the field of play, and any fouls or misconduct will result in a free kick. The team with the most points at the end of the game is declared the winner.

The game’s overall length is determined by several factors, including the number of substitutions allowed, time wasted due to injuries or fouls, and weather conditions. In addition, referee decisions can also impact the duration of a game, and strategies like playing for a draw can also extend the length of a match.

FIFA World Cup Rules

The FIFA World Cup is the most prestigious soccer tournament in the world, and it has its own set of rules that are slightly different from the standard rules of play. During the World Cup, an additional 30 minutes of extra time will be played if a game ends in a tie after regulation time.

This extra time is split into two 15-minute halves, and the teams switch sides at halftime. Penalty kicks will determine a winner if the game is still tied at the end of extra time.

In addition to the extra time, there are also certain limits on substitutions. During the group stage, teams can make up to three substitutions per match. However, during the knockout rounds, teams can only make up to two substitutions per match.

Finally, yellow and red cards are also issued differently during the World Cup. A player who receives two yellow cards during group-stage matches will receive a one-game suspension for the next match in the tournament. However, if a player receives two yellow cards during knockout round matches or one red card, they will be suspended for their team’s next match regardless of the round.

Average Length of a Soccer Match

A typical professional soccer match will consist of two periods, each 45 minutes long, with a halftime of 15 minutes. This makes the total duration of a soccer game 90 minutes, not including stoppage time due to injuries or other reasons. The exact length of a match can be affected by various factors, such as the number of substitutions allowed, injuries, fouls, timeouts, and weather conditions.

In most soccer leagues, teams are allowed three substitutions during the game, but this is subject to change depending on the competition. It’s common for injuries to occur during the game; when this happens, time is added to account for the delay. Depending on the injury’s bad, this can add several minutes to the game.

Fouls are also common in soccer, and they can lead to delays as well. The referee often stops the game by issuing warnings or handing out yellow or red cards. This can add a few minutes to the length of the match.

In addition, teams are allowed one or two timeouts during the match, which can add a few extra minutes to the game’s duration. Weather conditions can also impact how long a match lasts, with rain or wind potentially causing long delays while play is resumed.

Group Stage Matches

Group stage matches are the first round of the FIFA World Cup, where all 32 teams are divided into 8 groups of 4 teams each. Each team plays the other three in their group, with the top two advancing to the knockout stage. Group stage matches typically last 90 minutes, with two 45-minute halves. However, as in any soccer match, several factors can influence the length of a match.

The 2022 FIFA World Cup group stage began on June 21 and will end on June 28, with the two featured teams in all four matches for Ghana at the last World Cup in 2014 – including Nigeria and South Africa – competing for one of the two spots to move on to the knockout phase.

While most group stage matches take place over 90 minutes, some have gone into overtime and penalty shootouts to decide a winner, depending on the score at the end of regulation time. The excitement of having the last of the group games played at the end of the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group H football matches is sure to bring out fans worldwide.

Knockout Rounds

The knockout stages of the World Cup are where the real excitement begins. This is where teams must win to move on, and some teams may face elimination. The games during these rounds are still 90 minutes but with a few additional rules to ensure a winner is decided. If the score is tied at the end of 90 minutes, two 15-minute periods of extra time will be added.

If the score is still tied after extra time, the game will be decided by a penalty shootout. During the knockout stages, teams can make up to five substitutions per game instead of three during group-stage matches. This allows managers to adjust their strategy and tactics as needed.

Overtime and Penalty Shootouts

If a match is tied after 90 minutes, it may proceed to an extra period. This is an additional 30 minutes, split into two 15-minute periods with a short break. Teams may make up to three substitutions (instead of the usual five) during extra time.

A penalty shootout may be used to determine a winner if the match is still tied after the extra time period. In this case, each team will select five players to participate in the shootout. Each player will take turns attempting to score a goal against the opposing team’s goalkeeper.

The team that scores the most goals in the shootout determines the winner. A sudden-death shootout will decide the outcome if no winner is determined after five shots per team.

Factors That Impact Length of Matches

The length and timing of a soccer match can be affected by several factors, some of which are outside the control of the players and coaches. Here are some elements that can impact the length of a match:

  • Number of Substitutions Allowed – Each team can make up to three substitutions during the match, adding time to the clock.
  • Time Wasted in Injuries & Fouls – Injuries and fouls can cause stoppages in play, resulting in minutes being added to the clock.
  • Timeouts and Halftimes – At halftime, teams are allowed a brief break which can add minutes to the length of the match.
  • Weather Conditions – Wind, rain, snow, or hot temperatures can all affect the speed at which a game is played, resulting in an extended game.
  • Referee Decisions – Referees have great discretion when calling fouls and issuing yellow or red cards, both of which can add time to the clock.
  • Strategies For Shorter Games – Coaches can employ “time wasting” or “parking the bus” to utilize as much time as possible on the clock.

Number of Substitutions Allowed

In most soccer competitions, five substitutions can happen in three different time slots of the matches. A total of five substitutions per team are allowed in a game of soccer, which can be made at any break in play throughout the game as long as the coach or the team manager can then choose to use three of the six subs in the game.

UEFA Champions League and FIFA World Cup Soccer matches are 90 minutes long, comprised of two 45-minute halves. However, only three substitutions are allowed to be used inside the 90-minute duration of the match, regardless of injuries.

In addition, professional soccer games allow three subs during a regular season match and a fourth in extra time, if necessary. An additional substitution is allowed for each team if a game goes to overtime or penalty shootouts. Another innovation of the 1960s was the introduction of substitutes. Teams will have greater flexibility with their substitutions whenever the coronavirus hiatus ends for the dozens of domestic soccer leagues worldwide that have paused due to the pandemic.

Time Wasted in Injuries & Fouls

Injuries and fouls are some of the most common reasons for the time being taken away from a soccer match. Players can be injured from tackles, bad falls, or even an unfortunate collision with another player. While the injured player is being attended to, play is stopped, and the referee will add time to compensate for it.

Fouls can also cause stoppages in play, as the referee must assess the situation and give out any necessary punishment. These stoppages can add up quickly, making the game last longer than expected. To combat this, referees are often very strict in their decisions and are quick to call a foul or stop play if they sense something dangerous is about to happen. By doing this, they can help ensure the game is played in a safe environment while also keeping the length of the match at a reasonable amount.

Timeouts and Halftimes

Soccer matches have a halftime break of up to 15 minutes, usually at the end of the first half. During the break, both teams will typically have a chance to rest and regroup. During this break, teams can make substitutions, and the referee can review any previous decisions.

The clock in a soccer game only stops at halftime, although referees can add on time for any delays during the game. This is known as “stoppage time” or “added time.” The added time is left to the referee’s discretion and can vary from game to game.

In international tournaments such as the FIFA World Cup, a short break may be taken between extra periods if necessary. This is to allow players to rest before they continue playing.

Finally, some teams may use their allotted team timeout during a match. This usually occurs at halftime or during other breaks in play. Some teams may use their timeout to discuss strategies or make substitutions.

Weather Conditions

Regarding the World Cup, weather can significantly affect how long a soccer game lasts. This is especially true for games held in countries with climates that are much different from the traditional European climates.

For example, the last two World Cups were held in Brazil and Russia, both of which have climates that can be much warmer and more humid than those in Europe. This can cause players to become fatigued more quickly, resulting in longer matches. In addition, wet or soggy playing conditions can also slow down the pace of the match and lead to longer games.

In Qatar, the host of the 2022 World Cup, the rainy season lasts from December to March, and while showers may be quick, they can be hefty. Additionally, temperatures during this time of year can be quite cool compared to other times, influencing how long games last. Teams need to factor in these weather conditions when preparing for their matches so that they can adjust their strategies accordingly.

Finally, extreme weather conditions like snow and hail may cause games to be rescheduled or even canceled if conditions are deemed too dangerous for players to compete. In such cases, FIFA will decide the best action for all teams involved.

Referee Decisions

Referee decisions can greatly impact the length of a soccer game. Referee decisions often cause added time at the end of the match. Referee decisions can also delay the game, such as ensuring a player is not injured before restarting or awarding free kicks.

When reviewing a referee’s decision, the VAR (Video Assistant Referee) system has become increasingly popular in major tournaments. This system allows for reviews of offsides, handballs, and other fouls that the referee may have missed.

The 2022 FIFA World Cup has seen great use of the VAR system so far, with every VAR decision made throughout all 64 games being reviewed. However, this review process can still be time-consuming and lead to extra minutes being added to the end of the game.

The month-long tournament has been a mixed bag regarding officiating, and referees could still impact who wins soccer’s biggest prize. Referee Daniel Siebert took a long look at the video replay before winning England a penalty in their opening game against Tunisia.

In the last game, Switzerland beat Serbia to secure a spot in the round of 16 by a penalty kick awarded by Spanish referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz. The five games so far have had about 85 minutes added between them, with England’s match against Iran lasting an incredible 117 minutes.

Strategies For Shorter Games

If you want your soccer games to be shorter, there are a few strategies you can implement. You can limit the number of substitutions allowed in each team or set a maximum duration for each game. Additionally, you can limit the amount of time wasted on injuries and fouls by increasing the severity of the penalties for reckless play.

Finally, you can reduce the number of timeouts taken by each team and halftime to keep the game moving. Although these strategies may reduce the length of games, they should not be taken lightly, as they can drastically affect the match’s outcome.

Maximum Game Duration

FIFA, the governing body of international soccer, strictly regulates the duration of a soccer game. According to the Laws of the Game, a match can last for no more than 90 minutes, with two 45-minute halves and an additional 15-minute halftime break. However, there are some exceptions to this rule.

In knockout rounds of major tournaments, such as the World Cup, where a winner must be determined, the game will go into extra time if the score remains level after 90 minutes. Extra time is two 15-minute periods that occur after the end of normal time. If the score is still level after extra time, then the game will be decided by a penalty shootout.

Extra time is unavailable in certain tournaments or competitions, such as the FIFA Club World Cup, and games are decided on penalty shootouts if the scores are level after 90 minutes.

In general, most soccer games last no longer than 90 minutes, plus any additional stoppage time that the referee adds due to injuries or delays.


The length of a soccer game is determined by several factors, including the type of tournament, the tournament rules, the number of substitutions allowed, the level of play, and the weather conditions on the day.

On average, most professional soccer games last between 90 minutes and 120 minutes. However, games can last much longer depending on the factors listed above. To ensure that games finish on time, teams should practice their strategies for shorter games and adhere to the maximum game duration set out by FIFA.


Editorial Staff

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