Soccer, also known as the beautiful game, has so many rules that it can be confusing at first, but with time, you find out that the rules are much more simple that you thought they were. Let’s start with one rule. Can a soccer game end with a draw?
Some soccer games can end with a draw while others can’t. Most of the time, a soccer game can end with a draw, however, there are some soccer games that must have a winner. A world cup final must have a winner, while a group stage game can end with a draw.
If you just want to know whether a soccer game can end with a draw or not, then you’ve got your answer, but if you want to know when, where and why, then stick around to learn more.
Before we proceed, if you don’t know about the duration of a soccer match, then here’s a good place to start, I’ve written a full article just about this topic.
When can a soccer game end with a draw?
Whether a soccer game can end with a draw or not depends on the league that the game belongs to.
If a soccer league is based on points, like most of the country leagues around the world are, then a game can end in a draw. If a game ends in a draw, then each team gets 1 point. If not, then the winner gets 3 points and the loser gets nothing.
For example, in the Premier League, every single soccer match can end with a draw. This is simply because the whole soccer league is based on which club collects more points during the soccer season.
If a match is based on points, then you can simply give equal points if none of the 2 competing teams win during a match.
If you want to learn more about soccer leagues, I’ve written a detailed article about them here.
When should a soccer game end with a victor?
Some soccer games are called “knockout games”. If 2 soccer teams are competing against each other in a knockout game, then the team who loses gets out of the competition.
In these types of competitions, a draw is not possible and one of the two teams have to win.
An example of this can be the Copa Del Rey soccer competition in Spain. In this competition, one of the competing teams has to win, and the other gets eliminated from the competition.
There are some competitions that contain both matches that can end with a draw, and matches that can’t.
The world cup is a perfect example here.
The soccer world cup is divided into two stages. The first stage is called the group stage, and the second stage is called the knockout stage.
In the group stages, the soccer teams are divided into groups of 4. These 4 teams compete against each other and collect points. The 2 teams that have the most points from each group at the end of the group stage will advance to the next stage(the knockout stage).
In the group stages of the world cup, a draw is allowed and it gives each team 1 point. However, once the teams reach the knockout stage, no more ties are allowed and one of the teams have to win the game.
What happens if a draw occurs when a winner has to be decided?
If a soccer match ends in a draw when a winner has to be decided, then the two teams must play what is known as the “extra time”.
After the official 90 minutes of game time end, players can take a rest and then play again for 30 minutes.
These 30 minutes are divided into halves, each one consists of 15 minutes.
If none of the competing teams was able to win the game during the extra 30 minutes, then the teams will have to play the penalty kicks.
During penalty kicks the game stops, and each of the two teams will be allowed to take 5 penalty shots.
If you don’t know what a penalty kick is, learn more about them here in this extensive soccer rules guide.
During the penalty kicks, each team picks 5 of their players to take the penalty kicks. Then the 2 teams will get alternating penalty kicks until both teams have completed their 5 kicks.
The team who scores more penalty kicks wins. If both teams score the same amount of penalty goals, then both teams will get a new penalty kick. They keep getting more penalty kicks until one of them has more goals than the other.
Here’s a funny story from the early years of soccer. Did you know that in 1968, the penalty kicks at the end of a soccer game weren’t introduced yet? A match between Italy and the USSR ended in a 0-0 draw. They played the extra time and none of the teams managed to score.
No one knew what to do. Can you guess how they decided the winner of the game? They tossed a coin. Italy won and advanced to the EURO final by tossing a coin.
Few years later, and the concept of penalty kicks after extra time was introduced to make sure that there’s a proper way to decide a winner.
What are 2 legged games in soccer?
It’s not always the case that the “knockout stage” of a soccer competition consists of only one game between each of the competing two teams.
In soccer, each team has their own soccer stadium. If the knockout stage was only one game per 2 competing teams, then deciding on which stadium should the game be played might end up being a headache.
For that reason, some knockout stage competitions are 2 soccer games instead of one. Let’s say that teams A and B are facing each other in a knockout stage of a soccer league.
These 2 teams will have to play 2 games, one game will be held on team A’s soccer stadium and the other will be held on team B’s soccer stadium.
A draw is allowed in each of these 2 games, but a draw isn’t allowed on the aggregation of the results of the 2 matches. The aggregation of the scores of the 2 games decides the winner.
For example if the first game ended in a 2-1 victory for team A and the second game ended in a 2-2 draw, then the aggregate result is 4-3 and team A is announced as the winner.
What if the aggregate sum is a tie? If that’s the case, then the team who scored more goals in the opponent’s stadium wins.
What if the aggregate sum is a tie and both teams have scored equal amounts of goals in the opponent’s stadium? If that’s the case, then the teams will have to play the extra time that we discussed above, and penalties if none manages to win during the extra time.
That’s it, you now know everything that you need to know about when soccer games can end in a draw, and when they can’t. I’d like to answer one last question before I wrap up this article.
Are games that end in a draw less fun to watch?
Some people might think that if a game ends in a draw, then it might be boring to watch because there wasn’t really a winner.
Usually, the opposite is true. Think about it this way. If team A scored 2 goals and team scored nothing, then during the game, team B will feel hopeless and they might not fight to come back and win the game. In this case, the game might feel boring.
However, if the game ended in a draw, then you know that the match was good, because both teams felt that there’s a chance that they can win, and both of them gave it their all to score.
Usually, the best part of a soccer game that ends in a draw is the last few minutes of the game. Both teams will fight with whatever strength they have left to score a goal and leave the game as winners.
So it’s not always true that soccer games that end in a draw are boring. It’s quite the opposite to be honest.
With that said, I’ll end the article with a summary.
Most of the time, a soccer game can end with a draw. However, there are some games that require a winner. If a soccer game ends with a tie when a winner is required, then the competing teams will play for an extra time and penalty kicks might come in later if the game remains a tie after the extra time.