Have you noticed that some soccer games go on for longer than others? There is stoppage time, sometimes extra time, and even a penalty shootout. That begs the question: how long does it take to watch an entire match?
A soccer game takes around 2 hours: 90 minutes of game time — two 45-minute halves plus stoppage time with a 15-minute break. In specific cases, to break a tie, it goes into extra-time: two 15-minute halves plus stoppage time with a 1-minute break. If that’s not enough, there’s a penalty shootout.
Looking for FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 game length and why matches seemed to go on forever in Qatar? Read this.
But there’s more to soccer match length that we’ll explain in this post.
Soccer Game Length Chart
Here’s our game length chart that lists everything related to the duration of a soccer match.
|Periods of Play/Interval||Duration|
|Regulation Time (Full-Time)||90 minutes|
|Half-time Break||15 minutes|
|Avg. Stoppage Time/Half||3.5 minutes|
|TOTAL TIME (REGULAR)||1:52 hours (112 minutes)|
|Break between Full-Time and Extra Time||5 minutes|
|Extra Time||30 minutes|
|Extra Time Break||1 minute|
|Avg. Stoppage Time/Extra Time Half||2 minutes|
|TOTAL TIME (WITH EXTRA TIME)||2:32 hours (152 minutes)|
|Break between Extra Time and Penalties||5 minutes|
|Penalty Shootout Initial 5-kicks Stage||15 minutes|
|TOTAL TIME (WITH EXTRA TIME + PENALTIES)||2:52 hours (172 minutes)|
|Penalty Shootout Sudden Death Stage||3 minutes – until someone scores and the opponent misses|
How Long Is a World Cup Soccer Game?
A World Cup soccer game is 90 minutes long. It consists of two 45-minute halves with a running clock. After each half, the referee adds stoppage time to compensate for time lost. For the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, referees were instructed to be more rigorous, making stoppage time longer than usual.
Why So Much Extra Time in World Cup 2022?
There was so much extra time (stoppage time) added to each game in the FIFA World Cup 2022 due to new refereeing instructions to more accurately measure match stops for time wasting, substitutions, penalties, red cards, video assistant referee decisions, and goal celebrations.
For Qatar 2022, officials received a new directive to be more rigorous in gauging the amount of time lost and adding it back to the end of each half.
This new instruction came from Pierluigi Collina (possibly the best referee in soccer history) — chairman of FIFA’s referees committee.
Collina says this measure was introduced to ensure more active time, even if added time is longer than the previous average of 3.5 minutes for each half.
All time-wasting situations need to be compensated at the end of each half. There isn’t an official table, per se, but the recommendation from FIFA regarding time wasters is as follows:
- Goals: Each goal should be compensated with 1 to 1.5 minutes of stoppage time.
- Injuries: Each time the game stops for medical assistance, there should be 1 extra minute, on average, added to the overall stoppage time.
- Substitutions: Every substitution represents an extra 45 seconds of additional time given.
- VAR: Video Assistance Referee checks should be compensated in total.
- Cards, Set Pieces, and Penalty Kicks: One additional minute of stoppage time at the end of the same half.
How Long Is a Professional Soccer Game?
A professional soccer game is 90 minutes of full game time, both in men’s and women’s soccer. It consists of two equal periods or halves lasting 45 minutes. Between each period, there is a half-time interval which is 15-minutes long.
IFAB (International Football Association Board) — the governing body that writes the “Laws of the Game” — regulates professional soccer.
Every year this entity adds, alters, or updates the rules of association football to ensure the safety of players as well as make the game as exciting as possible for the fans.
Law 7: The Duration of the Match pertains to the duration of professional soccer matches and dictates that every game is composed of two halves of 45 minutes plus additional time added by the referee, as needed.
How Long Do Women’s Soccer Games Last?
Women’s association football matches last the same time as men’s soccer matches: 90 minutes — two 45-minute halves with a 15-minute halftime break.
How Long Is a Soccer Game With Extra Time?
In some cups or tournaments, in specific situations, if the game ends in a tie, it goes into extra time (also called overtime).
Extra time in soccer lasts 30 minutes and consists of two 15-minute halves and a 1-minute break.
A soccer game with Extra Time takes 120 minutes to complete: 90 minutes of regulation time plus 30 minutes of Extra Time. Combined with breaks and average stoppage times, that amounts to around two and a half hours (150 minutes) total.
How Long Is the Break Before Extra Time?
In soccer, the break between full-time and extra time is 5 minutes.
How Long Is the Break in Extra Time?
In extra time, there’s a 1-minute break for the players to switch field sides, drink some water, and get directions from the coach.
Even so, IFAB does not consider it an extra-time interval per se.
How Long Is a Soccer Game With a Penalty Shootout?
A soccer game with a penalty shootout is 172 minutes long (as long as the penalties don’t go into sudden death): 90 minutes of regulation time plus 30 minutes of extra time plus 20 minutes for the 5-shots stage. In total, it’s around 2:52 hours.
If the tie (better termed a “draw”) continues at the end of extra time, there will be a penalty shootout with each team taking five shots.
These five shots for each team are called the initial stage of the penalty shootout.
A penalty kick is a quick 1-minute thing.
Kicks from the penalty mark take 10 to 15 minutes for the initial 5-shots stage.
If the initial stage ends with an even score, the penalty shootout enters the sudden death stage. The winner is the first team to lead after both teams take their shot.
The sudden death stage of the penalty shootout can take 2 or 3 minutes to an indefinite time. It’s up to how much it takes for someone to miss their shot and see the opponent gain an advantage.
How Long Is the Break Between Extra Time and Penalties?
Between the end of extra time and the kicks from the penalty mark, there’s a 5-minute break.
During that break, players are not allowed to leave the field. They usually gather around each other and the coach, supporting those about to take their shot and the goalkeeper who will try to stop the opposing team’s penalty taker.
How Long Is a Soccer Game on TV?
An entire game of soccer takes, on average, 1:52 hours (112 minutes) long to complete stoppage time and half time included. That’s how long it takes to watch a professional men’s/women’s soccer match on TV or attend at the stadium.
Excluding stoppage time, it totals 1:45 hours or 105 minutes.
Despite the official game length of 90 minutes, soccer games go over 90 minutes since there’s always stoppage time to be added.
What Causes Soccer Games to Last Over 90 Minutes?
Soccer games go over 90 minutes of game time due to: wasted time, assessment/removal of injured players, the ball going out of play, committed fouls, disciplinary sanctions, VAR checks, set pieces, substitutions, drink breaks, and goal celebrations.
These factors cause the referee to make allowance for the time lost in each half.
What Is Stoppage Time in Soccer?
Stoppage Time (also called Injury Time or Added Time) in association football is the (minimum) additional amount of time added by the referee at the end of each half of a soccer game to compensate for time lost.
In the last minute of each half, the referee informs the fourth official of the minimum number of minutes of stoppage time to be added.
The additional stoppage time — also called injury time or added time — may be greater if needed to compensate for lost time during the stoppage time itself.
With all of this considered, it is up to the referee to decide when the game truly ends.
The average stoppage time added in the top-5 best soccer leagues is 7 minutes and 14 seconds.
Why Are Soccer Games 90 Minutes?
Soccer games are 90 minutes because that was the agreed limit for March 31, 1866’s match between Sheffield FC and a Football Association (FA) team. Adopted by the former (the world’s first football club that pioneered the creation of soccer rules), the IFAB included it in its rule book in 1897.
1857 marks the foundation of Sheffield Football Club, considered by FIFA as the first and oldest association football club still in existence.
After two years of experimentation and discussion and influenced by the rules of “Mob Football” played at universities, the club’s committee published its standardized laws of the sport. This original rulebook is the basis of the modern game.
In 1867, the year of its foundation, the Sheffield Football Association assumed responsibility for the laws.
Teams in this English city played under these laws — known as the Sheffield Rules — between 1859 and 1877. This type of football quickly became popular with new clubs and associations emerging in the north and the Midlands.
On October 26, 1863, in London, the Football Association was born — a governing body meant to create a definite code of rules for the sport. Sheffield FC’s members were instrumental in its foundation.
In the same year, the FA published its rulebook, and between 1863 and 1877, both laws co-existed and influenced each other.
A few years later, Sheffield F.C. proposed a match between them and a FA club. They played London City at Battersea Park on March 31, 1866, under FA rules.
FA and Sheffield laws didn’t specify the duration of each game. So both teams agreed that the match would last 90 minutes. It was the first match to limit its length to two halves of 45 minutes.
Following this clash, Sheffield F.C. adopted 90 minutes as its preferred game length.
After several games between Sheffield and London teams, many disputes, and a few compromises from both sides, the Sheffield FA decided to adopt the FA laws in 1877, unifying both codes.
In 1882, the English, Scottish, Welsh, and Irish football associations met at the International Football Conference to create a unified set of laws for association football across the United Kingdom.
It was a precursor to the creation of the International Football Association Board in 1886, which would ultimately determine the Laws of the Game.
Finally, in 1897, IFAB’s rulebook specifies, for the first time, 90 minutes as the duration of each match in its Law 2.
How Long Is a College Soccer Game?
A regular-season college soccer game is 90 minutes: two 45-minute halves broken by a 15-minute break. Live TV games may take a two-minute timeout per half. Postseason games that finish tied go into two 10-minute overtime periods, followed by a penalty shootout if the scoreline remains even.
The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) oversees college soccer in the USA. Part of their work is laying out and updating NCAA Soccer Rules Book that American colleges follow.
All the details regarding the length of games in college soccer are stipulated in Law 7: Duration of the Game.
Here are the most relevant points regarding Men’s and Women’s college soccer matches duration:
- Regulation time is 90 minutes — two periods of 45 minutes with an interval of 15 minutes.
- Live-televised games may have a two-minute timeout after the 23rd minute of each half.
- Regular-season games can finish with a tied score.
- If game time ends just after the referee has awarded a penalty kick, the game is extended for the penalty kick to take place.
- Postseason games that end in a tie go into two 10-minute periods of overtime.
- The game goes on for the entirety of overtime: there are no golden goal, sudden victory, or sudden death rules.
- In the final 5 minutes of the second half, or the second period of overtime, the game clock stops whenever the leading team makes a substitution.
How Long Is a Women’s College Soccer Game?
Women’s college soccer matches last the same as those for men: 90 minutes divided by an interval of 15 minutes during the regular season. Tied postseason games have 20-minute overtime to find a winner. If the tie remains, a penalty shootout takes place.
How Long Is a Youth Soccer Game?
Youth soccer leagues follow other rules compared to professional and college soccer.
For example, depending on their age group, the number of players in each team and the number of allowed substitutions may vary.
Likewise, the stipulated game length is different between the several age groups.
Here’s how the United States Youth Soccer Association (USYSA) breaks it down:
- Under-6: Four 6-minute quarters.
- Under-8: Four 12-minute quarters.
- Under-10: Two 25-minute halves.
- Under-11 & Under-12: Two 30-minute halves. (Extra Time: Two 10-minute halves.)
- Under-13 & Under-14: Two 35-minute halves. (Extra Time: Two 10-minute halves.)
- Under-15 & Under-16: Two 40-minute halves. (Extra Time: Two 15-minute halves.)
- Under-17, Under-18 & Under-19: Two 45-minute halves. (Extra Time: Two 15-minute halves.)
How Long do Middle School Soccer Games Last?
Middle school soccer games usually last two 30-minute halves with a 5-minute break.
That duration may vary, however, from middle school to middle school. In some of them they have matches consisting of two 35-minute halves with a 5-minute or 10-minute break.
If we’re talking about middle school tournament games, their duration can also be slightly different.
Matches can last two 20-minute halves with a 5-minute halftime, two 25-minute halves with a 5-minute interval or even two 35-minute halves with a 10-minute break.
How Long do High School Soccer Games Last?
High school soccer games are 80 minutes long, consisting of two 40-minute halves and a 10-minute break. In case of a tie, regular-season contests have no overtime. In tournament brackets, penalty kicks take place to determine the advancing team.
Based in Indianapolis, Indiana, the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) sets the rules that govern high school soccer games in the United States.
Notwithstanding, individual states determine their own rules. As such, game length may vary, but high school soccer games typically last 80 minutes, with two 40-minute halves.
Halftime is 10 minutes long, but it can be shorter if both teams agree before the match starts.
How Long do Girls’ High School Soccer Matches Last?
A girls’ high school game is 80 minutes long, consisting of two halves of 40 minutes or four quarters of 20 minutes.
The interval between the two halves (or between the second and third quarters) lasts 10 minutes.
How Long Is a Soccer Game – F.A.Q.
How Many Minutes in a Soccer Game?
90 minutes is how many minutes are in a professional soccer game. This period of gameplay is broken down into two 45-minute halves, with a half-time break in between.
How Long Is Halftime in Soccer?
The halftime in soccer is 15 minutes long. This break is a chance for players to rest and refuel before the second half of the game. They go to the locker room to catch their breath, hydrate and listen to their coach’s directions before returning to the field.
How Long Does an MLS Game Last?
A Major League Soccer game lasts 90 minutes. The match is divided into two 45 minute halves with a 15 minute halftime break.
In this post, we learned how long are soccer games. The answer is generally 90 minutes broken down into two 45-minute halves with a 15-minute interval plus stoppage time.
If there is a tie at the end of the regulation play, the game can end as a draw, or there could be overtime (extra time) of two 15-minute halves (with a 1-minute break between them) if this is a playoff match (or the competition rules state there cannot be any draws).
If the result is still a draw when the extra time ends, there will be a penalty shootout to determine the winner.
We also saw that game length is between the different age groups. The youngest footballers play the smallest amount of time and, as they move to the next age group, the longer their soccer matches last.