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Why do soccer coaches wait for exactly 60 minutes to make tactical changes? – Pundits

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One of the key considerations in soccer is the players’ stamina and energy reserves.


A coach is to substitute only three players in a game, and the best time for the substitutions is late enough in the game for an entering player’s to have a significant advantage over the opponents who have spent considerable energy in the first two-thirds of the game’s nominal 90 minutes.

But if the coach waits too long to make the substitution, the entering player may have insufficient time to affect the game. The optimum time to start substituting, then, is at about the 60th minute.

It is often a tactical mistake to use all three substitutes at about 60 minutes. So putting in the first substitute with “fresh legs” often exposes where the opposing team’s strengths and weaknesses are.

This allows the coach to select the most suitable player for his second substitution, waiting perhaps five or seven minutes for the coach to decide on his preferred strategy or tactics.


Often times when a football team is losing, substitutions are most effective in changing the result when they occur as follows:

The first player substitution must occur by the 58th minute, for the second player by the 73rd minute and for the third by the 79th minute.

Experience shows that the timing of substitutions depends a lot to do with the scoreline. Managers are more likely to wait until after 60 minutes if their team is winning whereas they are more likely to substitute either at or before the 60 minute mark if their team is losing.

The most likely reason for substituting a player in the first half is an injury or if there is a sending off.


60 minutes seems to be the equilibrium point for a perfectly implemented substitute.

Put him in any sooner, and he won’t make much of an impact as the opposition won’t be as fatigued.

Put him in any later, and there won’t be enough time for the substitute to make an impact.

Usually, if a certain player is substituted before say the 55 minute mark, it is an indication that the manager believes that player is underperforming.

Some argue that managers don’t want to be seen as acting in a presumptuous way therefore waiting till 60 mins could be safer than making a substitution that is then tactically countered by the opposition thus making the manager look foolish.

Others argue that early substitutions are an admittance that the manager made a mistake in his original starting line up.


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