Wednesday, 24 Jul 2024

All about Overtime in Soccer

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Soccer matches are known to be 90 minutes long, but sometimes things don’t go as planned. When the score is tied and a winner must be determined, the game can go into overtime, adding more excitement to the match. In this article, we will explore what overtime in soccer is all about and how it is implemented in the sport globally.

What is Overtime in Soccer?

Overtime in soccer consists of two additional 15-minute halves. The teams switch sides between the two halves, and there is a short break in the action. The team with the most goals at the end of overtime wins. If both teams are still tied, it goes to a penalty kick shootout.

When is Overtime Used?

Overtime is used in soccer matches where there must be a winner decided. Knockout stages of tournaments and championships require a winner. Regular season or group stage matches are allowed to end in ties, so overtime is rarely implemented.

What Happens If It’s Tied After Overtime?

If a match is still tied after overtime, a penalty kick shootout takes place. Each team selects five players to take penalty kicks against the opponent’s goalkeeper. The team with the most penalty kicks wins. If they are tied after five kicks, the shootout continues until there is a winner.

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Golden Goal in Overtime

While it is not widely used anymore, some soccer formats still play by the golden goal rule in overtime. The first team to score in golden goal wins the match. Although it can lead to exciting finishes, many feel that it relies too much on luck. Most major tournaments have moved away from this format.

Overtime vs. Stoppage Time

People sometimes confuse overtime with stoppage time in soccer. Stoppage time is added to compensate for any stoppages that occurred during each half of the match. It ranges from one to five minutes and is also known as injury time. Overtime, on the other hand, is a completely separate period of play lasting two 15-minute halves.

Strategies Used in Overtime

Teams employ different strategies in overtime depending on the situation. Some teams play for a tie if there is still an opportunity to end the match that way. They may be hesitant to take big risks, which can lead to a less thrilling overtime. Underdogs might play for a tie to force penalty kicks, as they believe it gives them a better chance of winning. If a team scores early in overtime, they may adopt a deliberate and safe strategy to hold onto their lead. Momentum plays a crucial role, and teams will adjust their tactics accordingly. Ultimately, strategy is vital in overtime, as the game can change quickly.

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How Do People Feel About Overtime?

Many sports fans thoroughly enjoy overtime play, as it guarantees a winner. Some would like to see overtime continue until a team scores, as penalty kicks can take away from the flow of the match. However, the physical toll on players limits the duration of overtime. Kicking penalties ensures that there is a winner after an extended period of play. Although no overtime format is perfect, most soccer players prefer the current setup over previous versions with the golden goal rule. While excitement is high during overtime, it is unlikely to be introduced in regular season play since draws can affect a team’s standings.

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Q: Can a soccer match end in a tie?
A: Regular season or group stage matches can end in a tie. However, in knockout stages of tournaments and championships, there must be a winner, and overtime is used to determine the outcome.

Q: How long is overtime in soccer?
A: Overtime in soccer consists of two additional 15-minute halves.

Q: What happens if a match is still tied after overtime?
A: If a match is tied after overtime, a penalty kick shootout takes place to determine the winner.


Overtime in soccer adds an extra layer of excitement to matches, ensuring a winner is determined when necessary. The implementation of overtime differs depending on the stage of the competition. While strategies vary, teams always strive to come out on top. Soccer fans appreciate the intensity of overtime play, even though it may deviate from the regular 90-minute action.