When Will the Final Whistle Sound? Wait and See

In the game between the US and Portugal, the referee added five minutes of extra time to the second half.

updated: June 24, 2014 07:58 IST
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Manaus, Brazil: Imagine if an NFL coach never knew when to call for the last-second pass, or an NBA star had to guess when to throw up his desperation half-court shot.

Such situations would be unthinkable in other sports, but vagaries of time are the norm in soccer. Games do not end when a clock expires, but only when the referee decides they are over.

In a world where quantities as varied as footsteps and mouse clicks can be measured with scientific precision, soccer is a land where time remains a mirage. The most recent example came in the World Cup game here Sunday night, when the United States scored to take the lead in the 81st minute of a 90-minute match only to see the advantage slip away when Portugal scored - wait for it - 14 minutes later.

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