Which is the longest football match of all time, and how long was it?

Which is the longest football match of all time, and how long was it?

Babu Tendu
updated at April 12, 2023 at 8:14 PM

How long is a football match played? A normal football match can be 90 or 120 minutes, depending on the competition. However, there are some exceptions due to unprecedented activities on the football pitch. Hang around to find out the longest football match ever experienced in football history.

Longest football match ever
Find out about the longest football match of all time ever. Photo by Michael Buholzer. (Modified by author).
Source: Getty Images

The longest soccer matches of all time happened during the second world war. The states of games were somewhat irregular due to the circumstances. Football continued despite the state of the world at that moment.

Change of time rules in football

Football has never just been a sport to people; it always has been more than that. It is their passion, their life, and it might stand for tenacity and hope. As a result, although many capable men played for their teams and fought for their country, football matches continued to be played during the World War period.

Additionally, a lot of laws changed at this time. Tournaments used to replay until a team scored higher and was declared the winner in the past when the scores were tied after 90 minutes of regular time. This nature created the longest football match ever played.

World's longest football match
The FIFA logo outside the FIFA headquarters. Photo by Harold Cunningham.
Source: Getty Images

Over nine weeks in 1940, 137 games were played during the League World Cup competitions. The replays exhausted the players to a great extent. The commission decided to alter the regulations as a result.

The commission decided that in the following season's games, the game would be awarded to the team with the higher league score in the event of a tie score. Many people expressed their displeasure about it and suggested it wasn't fair.

During the Lancashire Cup, they decided to experiment. The method was to continue the game until somebody scored. The experiment was a success the first time. It was not the world's longest football match.

Longest football match in the Premier League
The FIFA Logo on a referee's shirt. Photo by Oliver Hardt.
Source: Getty Images

The Play to Finish rule was introduced to the World Cup in 1942. Following that, it was used in various other competitions across the world.

Later, additional tactics were included in this rule, and modifications were also suggested. For instance, it was proposed that after 20 minutes of extra time, the winner be the team that scores a goal or wins a corner during the League South Cup games in 1942–1943. This was to avoid having an even longer football match in the Premier League.

Longest football game ever in the UK

Many games with lengthy extra periods required the referee to consult with the players on the sidelines regarding solutions, as it did in the 130-minute match between Liverpool and Everton. Liverpool players suggested a coin toss, but Everton insisted on playing on.

The Lancashire FA permitted the referee to play for five more minutes. The referee should end the game if a score is not reached. Many felt the situation was unfair.

The War Cup featured one of the longest football games ever played. Cardiff City and Bristol City fought it on the field for hours. A goaltender misplay that determined the winner brought the game to an end. The players limped off the field groggily, exhausted from what they perceived as an endless marathon.

This game was described as "an endurance test which will forever hold a place in the records" by a Western Mail reporter. History informs us that this reporter's conjecture was not entirely accurate because the record was broken within a year.

How long was the longest football match ever?

The Division Three North Cup Match replay between Stockport County and Doncaster Rovers on March 30, 1946, served as the true "endurance test." The teams entered overtime after a 90-minute game with two tied halves and a 2-2 score. However, the additional 30 minutes were insufficient because neither team managed to score.

How long was the longest football match ever?
Doncaster Rovers goalkeeper Glen Johnson gets beaten as Aston Villa score in front of the Holte End during their Third Division match in Birmingham, on 5th September 1970. Photo by Gerry Armes.
Source: Getty Images

They continued playing according to the "Play to Win" rule to achieve a golden goal. Les Cocker, a striker for the Stockport team, scored the winning goal in the 173rd minute. Up until the referee's whistle, the crowd was cheering. Crewe resident Mr. Baker had noticed a handball. He disowned the goal because of this and gave the players the order to play the longest football game in history.

The fans, however, were incensed at the referee for insisting on finishing the game even though the players were exhausted. Mr. Baker decided that it was too dark to continue the game as the sun set, so the teams flipped a coin to determine which team would host.

Doncaster hosted Stockport for the second rematch four days later. Doncaster outscored its opponent 4-0 to win the game.

Longest football match in the Guinness World Records

Technically, the longest soccer match in history took place in Wales in 2019 if we only count unofficial matches. The Air Dome at Cardiff City House of Sport served as the venue for the game. They ran for a full seven days and one hour, beginning on Sunday, November 14, and ending on Sunday, December 21.

The process was emotionally demanding and taxing on the participants. The requirement was to field 36 players for the game (2 squads of 18). The players had to play nonstop as well. The player received a five-minute break or one hour every 12 hours.

The longest football match in history was in 1946 and lasted 173 minutes. The match was between Stockport County and Doncaster Rovers. However, an unofficial game in 2019 lasted 169 hours.

READ ALSO: Who is the highest-scoring defender of all time in football?

Sportsbrief.com recently posted about high-scoring defenders. The primary role of a football defender is to stop opposing players from actively scoring in your net. Defenders are the famous pillars for enabling the teams to attack comfortably with the reassurance of having a good base.

However, several defenders are known for their ability to score. Therefore, knowing who is the highest-scoring defender of all time maybe interesting. Click on the link above to discover more!

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