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What Is Soccer OT?

What Is Soccer OT

“Soccer OT” typically refers to “Soccer Overtime,” which is the extra time added to a soccer match to resolve a tie when a definitive result is needed. In many soccer tournaments or knockout stages of competitions, a match that ends in a draw after the regulation 90 minutes plus any additional injury time will proceed to an overtime period to determine a winner. The specific rules and format for overtime can vary depending on the tournament’s governing body or the specific competition rules.

Here’s a general overview of how soccer overtime usually works…

Duration and Structure

  • Standard Duration – Soccer overtime often consists of two 15-minute halves, totaling 30 minutes of additional playtime. The teams play both halves entirely; there’s no sudden death (where the game ends as soon as a goal is scored) in most professional soccer competitions.
  • Breaks – There is typically a short break between the end of regulation time and the start of overtime, and also a brief pause between the two halves of overtime, but teams do not switch sides as they do at halftime during regular play.

Rules and Regulations

  • Substitutions – The number of substitutions allowed during a match may increase with the addition of overtime. For example, teams might be permitted an additional substitution in overtime, beyond the usual number allowed during regulation.
  • Golden Goal/Silver Goal – Some competitions in the past used the “golden goal” rule (where the first team to score during overtime wins the match) or the “silver goal” rule (where a team leading at the end of the first half of overtime wins, or the game continues to the second half). These practices have largely been phased out in favor of playing the full overtime duration.

After Overtime

  • Penalty Shootout – If the match remains tied after overtime, the winner is usually determined by a penalty shootout. This involves each team taking turns to shoot from the penalty spot, with only the goalkeeper to beat, in a best-of-five or sudden death format until a winner is determined.


  • Competitions – Overtime is commonly used in knockout stages of tournaments—such as the FIFA World Cup, UEFA Champions League, and domestic cup competitions—where a match cannot end in a draw and a winner must be decided to advance in the tournament.

Soccer overtime is designed to provide a fair and competitive means to determine a match winner when a draw is not a permissible outcome. Its application and the excitement it generates among fans highlight the drama and competitive spirit of soccer, especially during crucial tournament matches.