Why can soccer end in a tie? [Explained!]
You may be surprised to watch your favorite soccer team nearly break a tie and win a game at the end of a match, only for the game to end in a tie. This is something that is pretty unique to soccer, and many people wonder why games are allowed to end in a tie in the first place.
Soccer games can end in a tie if they are friendly matches that don’t count toward total wins or team stats. Professional games can end in a tie too, so long as they are playing in the regular season. For a tying game, each team is awarded one point.
To learn more about when a soccer game can and cannot end in a tie, continue reading!
A soccer match can end in a tie if it’s a league or championship
A league or championship is one of a few competitions that allow for games to end in a tie. These are competitions where more than two teams play against each participating team twice, both at home and away from the other teams’ home playing grounds.
With the point system for a tie adding one point for each team that tied, this creates an equal distribution of points which will help them in the long run, so long as they are already in the lead for the championship or they pass other teams that tied with them in the future.
A soccer match can end in a tie if it’s played in a group stage
For tournament matches that are in a group stage, the match can end in a tie. The group stage is sort of like a mini championship, with each team playing against all the participating teams once or twice. For tournaments in the group stage, there are a total of eight groups of four teams, and each team within those groups will compete against the other three teams for a total of 6 matches.
At this point, a game can end in a tie and be counted toward the team’s total points (one point is better than zero points for a losing game). Then the final two teams from each group, a combined total of four teams, will compete against each other in what is called a knockout stage.
During this knockout stage, games will keep playing for another 30 minutes if there’s a tie at the end of the 90 allotted minutes until one team succeeds in winning. If there is still a tie, then a penalty shootout will be given to each team as a tiebreaker.
A soccer match can end in a tie if it’s in the first leg of a two-legged cup
If the competing teams are playing in a two-legged cup, the first leg can end in a tie at any time, but the second leg can only end in a tie if the previous leg did not end in a tie. The win for the two-legged cup will be awarded to whichever team won the leg that did not end in a tie. If a competition has two knockout stage rounds, then the same can be said for those competitions.
Friendly matches can end in a tie
In the case of a friendly match, such as a match in which players are playing just to play, not to move on in a championship or league, then so long as it is permitted in the rules, these games can end in a tie.
These games are most common in small community games, practices little-league games, charity fundraising games, games put together solely for entertainment, and games organized by a group of friends. Often these games happen as warm-up to the soccer season during soccer practice.
Usually, these games are prefaced by the teams gathering together to discuss different outcomes of a game and to come to an agreement on solutions for those outcomes, including when the game ends in a tie. It’s more common than not that whenever these games end in a tie, the players choose to leave it at that.
When can a soccer match not end in a tie?
There are several instances in which a soccer match cannot end in a tie. The first is when a game is part of a single-leg round or played in the group stage of a competition cup. For cup competitions, each team plays a match (which is called a round) against each opponent once or twice.
If the cup consists of a one-legged round, then there can be no ties a the end of the 90 minutes.
Secondly, if the cup consists of a two-legged round, then the first round can end in a tie, but the second match cannot end in a tie if the aggregate score for both rounds is not a tie. This is true for both the two-legged cup and knockout stage rounds.
How do ties affect scoring?
When a tie is allowed for that game, a tie will provide each team with one point to go toward their overall league, championship, or group stage score.
This will either help them in the long run, given that both teams leave the game with one point each, rather than one of the teams leaving with a zero, or it could make or break whether their scores in the championship if they aren’t already in the lead because those two extra points they would have earned from the game makes a huge difference.
If the game is tied for a friendly match for something like a charity event or pre-season practice, then the players will shake hands with their opposing teammates and head home, given that they all have good sportsmanship. Because with these games, winning or losing isn’t going to make much of a difference in their success later on.
If a game ends in a tie when it is not allowed, the tie must be broken. It can be broken either by providing extra time at the end of the game’s total 90 minutes (which is two 15-minute halves for a total of 30 minutes) or by providing a penalty shootout to the teams. The extra time allows for both teams to try to score goals and earn at least one point higher than the other team.
The other way to break a tie (if the extra time ends in a tie or if the tournament’s rules don’t allow for extra time) is to have the teams perform a penalty shootout. Five different players on each team will take a kick shot to the goal, one at a time.
Whichever team scores the most scores during the shootout will take the win. If the shootout still ends in a tie, then the player will continue attempting to shoot goals until the tie is broken.