Soccer Scoring Rules

What is a goal in soccer?

In the sport of soccer, teams work together to score goals, because goals win the game. A goal is when the ball fully crosses the goal line between the goalposts and under the crossbar. However, it's not always that easy when there are multiple defenders and a goalie in your way.

The goal line is the section of the byline in between the goal posts. The goalkeeper protects this line because if a ball completely crosses this line, a goal is scored.

Soccer Goal Line

How are points scored in soccer?

A point is added to the opposing team's total, and the team with the higher score at the end of the match wins. A score line lists the result of a match and the goal totals of each team. Fans checking the results of past matches are looking for score lines.

Who can score in soccer?

A goal is one of the most exciting parts of any match, and they can be scored in a variety of ways. With even more ways to celebrate one, they remain the staple of any match.

Anyone can score a goal regardless of position. Typically, offensive players known as strikers score the most. It's uncommon, but goalkeepers and defenders can also score.

The team on offense is in possession of the ball and can attempt to score by taking a shot, which is just the act of kicking or heading (hitting the ball with the head) towards the direction of the goal. If a single player scores three goals in a single match, they've completed what's called a hat trick. Players use a variety of shots to score goals like dummies, chips, and panekas.

What happens if you score in your own net?

If the ball is last touched by a defensive player before crossing into his own team's goal, it's considered an "own goal" and counts the same as one point for the opposing team. Avoid doing this!

What is aggregate scoring?

Aggregate scoring is the total score of two games played at each team's home pitch.

If aggregate scoring still results in a tie, some tournaments will count goals scored as the away team for two points. This is known as the away goals rule.

For example, Teams A and B played twice. Team A won at home 1-0, and Team B won at home 2-1. While the overall aggregate score is 2-2 Team A scored more goals as the away team, and therefore would advance.

soccer aggregate score

How does scoring work at the World Cup?

During the group stage of the FIFA World Cup, aggregate scoring is used to break ties between teams that had the same number of points after their three group matches. Teams receive three points for a win, one point for a tie and zero points for a loss. The team with the most cumulative points advances as the winner of their group and the runner-up also advances. If there are ties, then goal differential is used to determine the final standings, followed by goals scored and then a head-to-head competition.

Related Terminology and Lingo

Here are some soccer concepts that are related to scoring rules in soccer:


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