My question is about World Cup extra time rules, but I guess it applies to FIFA in general.

About the FIFA extra time period, the rules say the following:

It shall always consist of two periods of 15 minutes each, with an interval of five minutes at the end of normal playing time, but not between the two periods of extra time.

Moreover, the complete 30 minutes are always played. You don't win if you're ahead at the end of the first 15-minute period.

So if there is no time between the extra periods, and you don't win at the end of one of them, why aren't they simply combined into a single 30-minute period?

  • 2
    It’s not currently used, but you might want to read up on the use of Golden Goal and Silver Goal in Association Football. The Silver Goal in particular then brings about a distinction between the two halves of extra time. en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_goal#Association_football
    – Darren
    Jul 1, 2018 at 20:53
  • The full overtime being always played is a recent addition, not too long ago it was a sudden death, first goal in overtime wins. Jul 2, 2018 at 11:22
  • 4
    @ratchetfreak The sudden death was a brief experiment a few years ago. Outside of that experiment, the full 30 minutes extra time (and then penalites if required) has been standard in FIFA and UEFA competitions for a number of decades. Jul 2, 2018 at 12:37

1 Answer 1


This is required so that teams are able to change sides of the field for the same technical reasons why they change sides at half-time, e.g, equal field/weather conditions, wind direction, fan seating, etc.

Note that now rules (Law 7 - The Duration of the Match - 2. Half-time interval) explicitly state that:

Players are entitled to an interval at half-time, not exceeding 15 minutes; a short drinks break (which should not exceed one minute) is permitted at the interval of half-time in extra time.

Note: the bold text has been added to the rules in 2016

  • 1
    That one minute break is probably a godsend for the already gassed out players, as well. Jul 2, 2018 at 12:27
  • 6
    Although most modern pitches are extremely symmetric, there are some "legacy" grounds (built in the 19th century!) that are anything but. Easter Road, home of Scottish club Hibernian F.C. notoriously had a slope on it up until recently, so that one team actually played uphill! The half-time switch was very welcome... Jul 2, 2018 at 13:20
  • Don't forget the location of the sun. You don't want to play facing the sun if you don't have to.
    – Tundey
    Jun 29, 2021 at 21:16

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