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Is Soccer Called A Game or Match?

Is Soccer Called A Game or Match?

You must have wondered which is right and if there is a difference between these two terms; soccer game and soccer match. The truth is, both terms are correct and sometimes used interchangeably in different contexts.

There is, however, a slight difference between them and some cases where they should be used interchangeably. In fact, many people use them in place of each other, and you would hardly flag it as an error unless you knew the difference between those two.

There is no provision for the difference between game and match in the laws of soccer. Therefore, we will have to rely on history and Grammar to explain how the two terms are related and how they differ.

A soccer match is taking

Furthermore, to help clarify and guide the way you use the two words, this article will explain the difference between a game and a match and what they both entail. We will also explain when, where, and how “soccer game” and “soccer match” are used.

What is the difference between a game and a match?

Often, both terms are used in place of each other. However, that “game” and “match” are used interchangeably does not mean that they are used correctly. Before we go into the difference between a soccer game and a match, we will first explore the difference between a game and a match.

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Usually, a game consists of one or more competitive activities between individuals or teams to decide a winner. For example, the game may consist of rounds where the players play several sets, and the highest score determines the winner after the points have been summed up.

In this case, when a player loses a round in the play, they might have not lost the game yet.


A match, on the other hand, is an event that consists of one or more games. This means that a game is classified as a substructure of a match. In which several teams or individuals are matched to determine the winner.

In this case, when a team (or individual) loses a game(s), they are out of the match. The teams continue to reduce so that the others can keep playing the games, and one emerges, winner.

Is soccer called a game or match?

Soccer can either be called a game or a match. While there are rules that guide the usage of both terms, the scenario changes when it comes to soccer.

According to the difference highlighted between a game and a match, the match’s scope goes beyond just a competition between two teams. Instead, it entails a formal event consisting of competitive plays between two or more teams.

The soccer match of high school students

However, in soccer, a single game between two teams can also be called a match. Thus, the use of both terms in soccer is not based on the meanings given above. Instead, both terms are used interchangeably and mostly according to cultural convention.

For example, to the British, soccer is football. And while Americans prefer it to be called a “soccer game,” the British call it a “football match.”

If you say “soccer match” in front of an American, you would most likely be interrupted and corrected that it is a “soccer game.”

So, when using the word “soccer,” it is appropriate to use “game”. And when you use “Football,” it is more suited to pair it with “match.” In soccer, the difference between game and match lies mainly with the origin and the term used.

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Why is it called a soccer match? What is a match in soccer?

Having explained the mystery behind a soccer game and a soccer match, you should know by now that none of the terms are wrong. The only situations where it would seem wrong if you said it in front of someone already used to the other term.

Why is it called a soccer match? Soccer is a game that involves two teams of 11 players, each passing around a ball to shoot it into the opponent’s goal post. A match involves a competitive activity between individuals or teams to determine a winner.  

That said, when you say soccer match, you are referring to a competitive game of soccer between teams to decide a winner. If we go by the standard meaning of a match, it is a formal event consisting of competitive activities.

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Furthermore, know that the soccer match is guided by rules that all players adhere strictly to.

What is a match in soccer?

A soccer match refers to a game between two teams. Both teams consist of 11 players who maneuver the ball with their feet into the opponent’s goal post and tactically prevent the opposing team from scoring against them.

The only player allowed to touch the ball with his hands is the goalkeeper. The goalkeeper prevents the ball from entering the team’s goal post and can use any part of his body to perform his role.

The standard duration of a soccer match is 90 minutes. However, the players play two halves of 45 minutes each and sometimes play for an injury time.

When the match ends, the winner is determined by the team with the highest goals. In some cases, when there is a draw, and the winner can’t be determined, the match is extended by 30 minutes, or the match goes straight into a penalty shoot-out.

In cases where the match is extended by 30 minutes, If after 30 minutes, the result still comes out a draw, a penalty shoot-out is attempted by both teams. And the team with the most goals emerges the winner.

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A soccer match gets regulated by a referee who ensures that everyone plays the game according to the game’s laws. The game laws bind all players and officials who are under the football association to keep the sport fair.

In every game, there are four referees. One stays with the players on the fields, two referees stand outside the line to assist the officiating referee, and the last referee stays outside the pitch in between the two teams.

The referee between the two teams benches checks the substitution and keeps important records like bookings, ejections, and game goals.

The soccer match is played on a rectangular field divided into two halves representing the territory of each of the teams. Each team must defend their side and the field and ensure the opposing players don’t get close to their goal post.

In a soccer match, players strategically position themselves with the help of the coach. The essence of the formation is to ensure that the team can defend, attack, and score against the opposing team.

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There are different formations a team can adopt and can be changed as deemed fit in different matches. Some of the formations are

  • 4-5-1
  • 4-3-3
  • 4-4-2
  • 3-6-1
  • 4-2-4 
  • 3-5-2. 

The numbers represent the defenders, midfielders, and forwards respectively. As the name implies, the defenders are in charge of blocking the goal area and preventing the opposing team from scoring.

They play close to the team’s goal post. Midfielders play both offense and defense, with their main duty to prevent the other teams’ players from moving near the goal post. The forwards, also known as the strikers, have the main duty of scoring goals for the team.

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More often, the British refer to sports as matches while Americans use the term “games.” No one obeys the rules on usage of game or match but adopts anyone that is deemed fit.

The use of “game” and “match” can be associated with cultural conventions. As earlier stated, a group of people adopt a term for an object, it becomes popular among them, and any other term to describe the object may seem inappropriate and strange.

This explains why regardless of the laid down rules of the two terms, there are still arguments and discussions about how they should be used. The bottom line is game and match can be used interchangeably in soccer without committing an error.

The argument is basically about the suitability of using the terms.