Futsal VS 5-a-Side: Get To Know The Difference

The image of the game of futsal vs 5-a-side
Written by Damien Gavrilho

Futsal and 5-a-side football have the same fundamental ideas. At its most basic, you’re still attempting to kick the ball into the opposing goal, past the goalkeeper, more times than your opponents do. But what really is the difference between futsal and 5-a-side football?

Despite being founded on the same basic premise, there are several significant distinctions between futsal and 5-a-side that have a significant impact on the way each game is played.

This article will explain these distinctions and how they affect gaming. But first, let us have an overview of futsal and 5-a-side.

What is Futsal?

Futsal is the FIFA-sanctioned small-sided football format. Each team consists of five players and is known for its fast, intense, and technical gameplay.

It is played between two teams, each with five players on the field at any given moment, and uses a smaller, tougher, and less bouncy ball than soccer.

futsal ball characteristics

Futsal is a fast-paced variation of football that is full of split-second decisions and plenty of goals. To play professionally, this game needs a high degree of fitness and skill, but it is still a wonderful option for those seeking a fun way to get into football.

What is 5-a-Side Football?

people are playing 5-a side football

5-a-side football is a popular form of small-sided football. On the surface, this game looks to share many characteristics with the popular and regularly played 11-a-side football, but as any regular player will tell you, the abilities required to succeed are vastly different.

It is played on a 25 by 15 meter closed synthetic pitch. The players may use the field’s walls, but the ball must not contact the net over the wall. The goalie is not permitted to leave his area, nor are outfield players permitted to enter it.

With a smaller surface and faster action, 5-a-side differs from traditional football by emphasizing quick, riskier plays.

Five-a-side is not yet a sufficiently democratized sport to warrant a formal national tournament like futsal is. There are, nevertheless, competitions and tiny leagues in 5-a-side football.

The Difference Between 5-a-Side Football and Futsal

Despite the fact that both of these sports are played by a five-person team, there are major variances. Some distinctions between these two are provided below to assist you to comprehend the difference.

Match Length

The Difference Between 5-a-Side Football and Futsal: match length

Both varieties of the game are played in two halves, although 5-a-side is played in two 30-minute halves, whereas Futsal is played in two 20-minute halves.

Furthermore, in 5-a-side, the timer continues continuously (“running clock”), with a stoppage or injury time added to the end of the contest as needed. Futsal adheres to the more traditional, more precise practice of pausing the timer at stoppages and restarting when play starts.

Ball Size and Bounce

ball size futsal vs 5 a side

Futsal, as an indoor sport, usually necessitates a heavier, size 4 futsall ball with very little bounce. The weight aids in ball control during the game, ensuring that the ball does not bounce higher than the players’ heads or more than once. This is in contrast to the ball used in 5-a-side, which is often a regular size 5 ball.

Pitch dimensions

Marking on the futsal court field explained.

Although 5-a-side and futsal have the same number of players, 5-a-side has a wider pitch (40 by 30 yards), making it harder for defenders to extend their protected area against attackers. Contrarily, a futsal pitch measures 40 by 20 meters, creating a wider, longer playing area. This makes using the ball to attack much more challenging, emphasizing quick reflexes and precise footwork.

Playing Surface

The playing surface is another noticeable distinction. On shorter artificial grass mats called indoor synthetic pitches, five-a-side soccer is played. On the other hand, futsal is played on parquet-style wooden flooring.

Goal Size

Futsal goals are just 3m by 2m in size, which makes it even more difficult for offensive players to fulfill their tasks. In contrast, a 5-a-side game’s goal is broader and shorter, measuring around 16 feet by 4 feet.


Both sports feature five players: one goalkeeper and four regulars. In 5-a-side football, substitutions are limited. Futsal likewise has 5 players per side, but substitutions are rolling throughout the game.


In terms of fouls, tackling is prohibited in both 5-a-side and futsal. However, unlike futsal, the ball is returned to the goalie in 5-a-side instead of earning a free-kick.


Because of the opportunity to experiment with the walls in 5aside. The goalkeeper is also employed differently in futsal; he can be used as a 5th person in the offensive phase, which is not the case in football.

While the number of players on the field is the same in both sports, the field in Futsal is larger. This makes futsal more physical and technical than football. Futsal will be more difficult to play tactically than 5-a-side football.


Futsal and 5-a-side football require different types of footwear. It is advised that there be no cleats when playing futsal. The rubber sole of the indoor football shoe is built for maximum traction. You can use turf cleats for 5-a-side, which are miniature cleats more suited for changing directions and making other movements on the synthetic surface. Check our guide to the best futsal shoes here.

Is Futsal More Difficult than Football?

While playing futsal football needs a different skill set than playing traditional 5-a-side football, it is not really that hard.

Futsal gives the ideal opportunity to hone decision-making abilities, quick footwork, and attacking plays as there is a greater emphasis on attacking to heighten the number of shots on goal, which is in itself extremely tough due to the goalkeeper being able to reach any corner of the net.

A 5-a-side football is played more quickly and violently than a typical 11-a-side game. 5-a-side also emphasizes action and lots of solo plays.

Overall, both styles of small-sided football emphasize quick reflexes and quick feet, but with a broader surface and larger goals. Futsal emphasizes attack while 5-a-side requires a strong defense.

Final Thoughts

Players enter smaller-sided games for a variety of reasons. In order to expand their skill set, players frequently turn to 5-a-side or futsal to hone their arsenal of footwork skills.

Because there are fewer players and a smaller field, each player must have excellent ball-handling abilities. Keeping fit and playing the game you love may also be on your list of priorities.

Until you try, you’ll never know which of the various football styles you’ll naturally thrive at or which game you’ll enjoy playing the best. While still quite physically taxing, 5-a-side and futsal do away with “sprint to cover 50 yards of field” type plays. These games require more action. 

Now, you do not have to decide on which one is for you as it can be both! There is no harm in trying both sports for more experience and challenge.

About the author

Damien Gavrilho

Damien has been a professional futsal player from 1997 to 2010 years. He was playing for FC Atlantic Wolves and Dynamo. Damien has opened his own futsal school in North Dakota, USA and populating futsal all over the United States. Today, Damien is coaching his own team in the amateur USA futsal league. Damien has multiple rewards from the US Futsal Association.

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