How Long Is A Professional Soccer Match?

Usually when we play soccer in our backyards, the duration of the match will be as long as our bodies can physically handle. But that’s not the case in professional soccer.

A professional soccer match is 90 minutes long. The match is divided in two halves. Each half consists of 45 minutes, and the competing teams get a 15 minutes break between each of the match halves. Teams switch positions on the field after the half time break.

The referee of the match might add some extra minutes to each half depending on how much time was wasted during these halves.

So, here’s what a soccer match timeline looks like:

  • Match starts.
  • First half: 45 minutes
  • Injury time: depends on what the referee decides
  • Half time break: 15 minutes
  • Second Half: 45 minutes
  • Injury time: depends on what the referee decides
  • Match ends.

What is injury time (stoppage time) in soccer?

Injury time or stoppage time is the extra time that the referee decides to add to each of the match halves. This time is usually between zero minutes and 5 minutes. The injury time can be much longer than 5 minutes, but it rarely crosses a 5 minutes duration.

How is the injury time decided?

Injury time is decided based on how much the game stops during the match half. The time when the game stops is usually considered to be wasted time and thus it needs to be compensated.

There are many reasons for a soccer game to pause. A foul pauses the game, an injury can pause the game, a fight between players can pause the game and so on.

The referee has the full right to decide how long the injury time should be. So the amount of time added at the end of each half is not exactly equal to the collective time of when the game wasn’t on.

Usually in many sports competitions, the game timer stops when the game is paused. For example, in Basketball, the timer only decreases when the game is on.

This is not the case in soccer. No matter what happens during the game, the game timer keeps going and never stops. For that reason, an injury time is needed to make sure that the winning team does not waste a lot of time during the match to secure their victory.

The above timeline of soccer matches is standard among all games that can end in a draw. However, there are some games that can’t end in a draw. What happens in these?

What is extra time in a soccer match?

If a soccer game must have a winner, and the injury time of the soccer match has ended when the game result is a tie, then the match time will be extended.

The extra time given after a match ends in a tie is 30 minutes. These 30 minutes are divided into 2 halves. Each half is 15 minutes long.

However, the break between the 2 halves of the extra time is very short. Once the first half of the extra time ends. The teams do not go to their dresser rooms during the break, instead they just go grab some water or get some quick massages from their team’s professionals.

The teams switch positions on the field, and they gather around their manager for a small chat. Each of the team’s managers takes a few minutes to motivate their players and tell them the plan for the next half. Then the managers leave the fields and the second half starts.

Both halves of the extra time have injury time too. The referee can decide to add extra minutes at the end of each half if the game was paused a lot during the respective half.

Penalty time.

If the tie remains at the end of the extra time, penalty kicks come to the rescue. There isn’t any official time on how long penalty kicks should take. But usually, it doesn’t take more than a minute per penalty kick.

Each team gets 5 penalty kicks. With that said, penalty kicks time usually does not take more than 10 minutes. Unless more than 5 penalty kicks were needed.

This concludes the article. Here’s a summary of what you have just read

A soccer match is 90 minutes long divided into 2 equal halves. Injury time can be added to each of the match halves. Two extra halves, called extra time,  might be added at the end of the game in case of a tie when a game must have a winner. Each of these extra halves is 15 minutes long.

If the game remains a tie after the extra time, then the game stops and each team gets 5 penalty kicks. Usually, a penalty kick doesn’t take more than a minute to be taken.