What Is A Friendly In Soccer? (Full Guide)

Before we dive in deep, I daresay that a friendly game in soccer is a game that has no consequences for all parties or both teams involved and is not labeled as competitive.

A friendly game in soccer is a non-competitive soccer game played outside any recognized soccer competition, be it League games, Cup games, World Cup, Champions League games, Club World Cup games, and others.

You see, a friendly game is also regarded as an exhibition game, and most football fans do not even know the importance of this type of play in football. However, I will be sharing every piece of information you want to know regarding a friendly match in soccer in this article.

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What Is The Difference Between A Friendly Match And A Regular Match?

There are differences between a friendly match and a regular match although some of these differences could be invisible. However, a friendly match will always be communicated to the fans before it is held.

Well, since most football fans do not know the differences between a friendly match and a regular one, below are the differences you need to know about a friendly game and a regular game –

  • Club friendlies are not organized by Fifa or sanctioned by them, not even recognition, but regular games are sanctioned by Fifa
  • In a friendly game, there is no limit to how many substitutions a team could make, but in a regular game there is a limit to substitution
  • A player’s goal and work rate, even the team’s performance does not count during a friendly match in soccer.

What Is An Example Of A Friendly Match?

Since most friendlies are not played outdoors, you could barely notice ones that are played indoors, but then an example of a friendly game Sevilla(La Liga side, Spain) clashing against Manchester United(English Premier League side, England) without the match not being a UEFA competition game. It can also take place between sides in the same league.

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It can be said that the majority of the games played in the pre-season before a season commences at the club level, as well as games played before the start of a major tournament at the international level, are friendly matches.

Are Rules And Play The Same During A Friendly Match?

Rules and play are the same during a friendly match, but it differs in terms of substitution. You see, while there could only be 3 – 5 approved substitutions in a regular match, a friendly match does not care about the number of substitutions a team has made.

Regarding the playtime of a regular match and a friendly match, it does not differ.

How Many Substitutions Can Be Made During A Friendly Match?

During a friendly match, a team can go further to play all their squad members without being penalized. If a team has a squad of 25 men, they have every right to get the 25 squad members to play a single match provided that they present 11 players at a time.

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When Do Friendly Matches Take Place?

Friendly games take place when a league wants to resume such as during the preseason and this is at the club level as mentioned earlier. At the international level, friendly games take place during the international break or before the commencement of a major tournament to test the strength of the team.

Pre-season friendly games begin two months or so before the resumption of a league. At the international level, we can see that all the participants of the Qatar 2022 World Cup took part in friendly games weeks before the tournament commenced.

How Important Is A Friendly Match?

Now, there are a lot of reasons why friendly games are held. But the most common one is to gain players’ fitness and understand each player depending on the tactic(s) the manager is applying and using to select players that are serious and ready for matches ahead.

Moreover, a friendly game can be organized to make money if a team has a financial issue. In addition, a friendly game could be used as an occasion, or to open an occasion.

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Friendly games also take place to ensure that teams are in shape and bond before a major tournament that counts and this is always the case at the international level.

Do Soccer Friendlies Count?

No, soccer friendlies do not count as part of a player’s career, because it is not sanctioned by FIFA. However, some friendlies count, and these friendlies are known as international friendlies. It counts because it is approved by FIFA.

Do Goals In A Friendly Match Count For Players?

Yes, goals in friendly matches count for players if the friendly game is an international one, but if it is at the club level, it will not count.