What Is A Friendly In Soccer?

Soccer is a sport that is beloved by millions of people around the world. One of the key elements of the game is the concept of a “friendly.” 

But what exactly is friendly in soccer? Simply put, a friendly is a non-competitive match or scrimmage between two teams. Unlike regular league or tournament matches, friendlies are often used for teams to prepare for upcoming competitions, try out new strategies, or give playing time to younger or less experienced players. 

friendly soccer match

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the role of friendlies in soccer and explore their benefits and limitations. Whether you’re a casual fan or a serious player, understanding the concept of a friend is essential to understanding the sport as a whole.

Differences between a friendly and a competitive match

The main focus of a friendly match is on having fun, enjoying the game, and improving by playing. The players may not take the game as seriously as they would in a competitive match, and there is often less pressure to win. 

In a competitive match, the players are focused on winning, and there is often a greater level of intensity and pressure. The rules and regulations may also be stricter in a competitive match. 

Friendly matches may not have official referees or scorekeepers, while competitive matches typically do. It is important to note that the level of physicality and intensity can vary depending on the skills of the players and teams.

Only some friendly matches will be less intense than every competitive match. Overall, the main difference between a friendly and a competitive match is the intensity and the focus on winning.

Purpose of Friendly Matches

Friendlies, or international friendly matches, are soccer games played between teams that are not part of any official tournament or competition. These games allow teams to test their abilities against different opponents, try out new strategies and formations, and give players a chance to gain international experience. 

Here are the common purposes of friendly matches:

Preparation for upcoming competitions

Friendlies serve two primary purposes in soccer. They prepare teams for upcoming competitions and build team morale by allowing them to play against top-level opposition. 

Friendly matches are usually shorter to allow both teams to prepare for their competitions. Teams generally rotate players throughout the match to ensure everyone gets a fair shot. The game is an excellent opportunity for players to fine-tune their skills ahead of important competitions. 

By playing friendlies, teams can ensure that they are ready to face the challenges of their upcoming competition; this will help them win and stay at the top level of the game.

Testing new tactics and formations

Friendlies are a crucial part of the football season and are used to try out new tactics and formations. 

Friendlies allow clubs to evaluate their players in different situations and roles, which can help them decide on the best lineup for competitive matches. The results of friendly matches often play an essential role in deciding the competitive lineups for tournaments and tournaments. 

Giving playing time to reserve and youth players

Friendlies allow teams to evaluate their players, give them playing time, and build cohesion and chemistry within the team. They are a key part of the development process for young soccer players. 

For young players, this may be their first opportunity to gain game experience at a higher level. For role players, friendlies are a way to stay sharp and perhaps prove themselves that they can take on a larger role with the team.

They allow players to learn new skills and improve their tactical knowledge, which can be invaluable as they prepare for more competitive play. 

Building team cohesion and morale

Friendly matches allow teams to test each other and build team cohesion and morale. It is a chance for teams to get familiar with each other before the competitive matches start. 

They provide an excellent opportunity to bond as a team, which can help them reach their goals in competitive matches. Over time, playing together in friendly matches can lead to better performance in actual league games.

Format of Friendlies

The format of friendlies varies depending on the country or league. Here are some common formats in friendly matches:

Length of the match (usually 90 minutes)

Friendlies are a key part of the international soccer calendar and are essential to developing young players. These matches are often the same as real contests, typically lasting 45 minutes per half.

Substitution rules

Friendlies typically follow substitution rules that are similar to those of competitive games. Teams are allowed three substitutions and can change their starting 11 in each half. In some cases, unlimited substitutions may be allowed. Most friendlies are played with a maximum of 11 players for each team on the pitch, but there are some exceptions. Check out these substitution rules for Champions League play.

Friendly matches are not official

Friendly matches are not official by FIFA, though results may play a role in a country’s world ranking Many friendly matches can be watched online or on television, but they are generally less popular than official matches. This is due to the fact that the best players are often rotated in and out of the lineup to ensure they are at their best for a more important game.


A friendly match, or exhibition game, is an unofficial match between two teams or nations that allows them to play against each other before an official competition. They offer the chance to give first-team players a rest and allow promising youngsters to get game time. The matches are also a good opportunity for national teams to meet and boost their morale and cohesion.

Adrian Turner
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