Professional soccer is played between two teams of 11 players each. The game lasts for a total of 90 minutes divided equally into two halves of 45 minutes each. An interval of not more than 15 minutes is allowed between the two halves.
Soccer is played on a pitch which is 100-130 yards long and 50-100 yards wide. To ensure fair competition, a central referee is assisted by two referees along the side lines. The game kicks off at the center of the pitch, after the referee blows his whistle.
Players usually wear a jersey, shorts, stockings, shin pads and studs. Goalkeepers use additional equipment, such as gloves. Use of hands, except for the goalkeeper, during a soccer game is an offense and results in a free kick or a penalty for the opposing team. Free kicks are given for offences outside the rectangular area in front of the goal. Any misconduct inside the area results in a penalty kick. Any other inappropriate behavior also attracts similar punishment.
A goal is scored when the ball crosses the goal line completely. Partial crossing results in a goal being disallowed. The team with the most number of goals at the end of 90 minutes wins the game. If both teams have the same number of goals, the outcome is decided by allowing a period of extra 30 minutes and/or a penalty shootout.