How long does a World Cup game last?

From the round of 16, games can no longer end in a draw, overtime and penalty shoot-outs can come into play.

DOHA, Qatar – The group stage of the World Cup is officially over and the top 16 teams – including USA for the first time since 2014 – now begin the second phase: the knockout round.

The rules of the game change slightly going into the round of 16, so here’s a refresher if you’re new to football or need to catch up.

How long does a World Cup game last?

Football matches are 90 minutes long, not counting overtime.

World Cup games have two 45-minute halves, but games regularly stretch beyond 100 minutes due to referee overtime.

What is stoppage time?

Unlike most American sports, soccer games have a running clock that doesn’t stop when the ball is out of play. For this reason, officials add up time at the end of each half to allow for stoppages such as injuries and goal celebrations.

The referees were particularly generous at the 2022 World Cup with stoppage time, which was an order from above. FIFA commissioned officials to add more time at the end of World Cup games to compensate for goal celebrations. FIFA also wanted referees to add at least one minute for an injury delay and 30 seconds for each substitution break.

“Celebrations can last a minute or a half,” said FIFA’s Pierluigi Collina at a briefing on FIFA’s instructions to its match officials in Qatar. “It’s easy to lose three, four, five minutes just for goal celebrations and that has to be taken into account and compensated for in the end.”

Average stoppage time on Monday was more than 10 minutes after half of the 64 games were played. However, the average was skewed by the England v Iran game when over 27 extra minutes were added due to injuries.

Adding more time at the end of World Championship Games to compensate for interruptions has increased the average active playing time to 59 minutes according to FIFA.

Overtime in the round of 16

In the group stage, World Cup matches could end in a tie as teams are promoted using a points and tiebreaker system.

In the round of 16, the tournament switches to a single-elimination style. If there is a tie at the end of regular time, overtime and penalties will come into play.

What happens if there is a draw in the round of 16?

Overtime consists of two 15-minute halves, and teams play both full halves even if one team scores – there is no “golden goal” or “sudden death” rule.

If the teams are still tied at the end of overtime, the teams face each other with five rounds of penalty shootouts. Which team shoots the most penalties from five wins.

If there is no leader, the game ends in a sudden death penalty shootout.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. How long does a World Cup game last?

Laura Coffey

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