How Long Is Extra Time In Soccer?

How long is extra time in soccer? It's a question often asked by the sly neighborhood kid after realizing his or her team is losing. It’s the same kid who owns the ball and threatens to take the ball back inside and end all the fun. Luckily for you, we went the extra mile to explain this seemingly intuitive question, and for anyone who doesn’t know this already: you're not a noob, not at all.

Extra time is the resolution to stalemates in the beautiful game. In some cases (usually always knockout competitions), when teams are at a tie and a winner needs to be declared, two consecutive 15-minute periods are played. There you have it: it's generally always 30 minutes (plus stoppage time).

In extra time, teams are permitted one extra substitution as well (a new rule change to the game). However, the nuances don’t end there since the implementation of extra time often depends on the specific league as well as what stage the competition is in.

In 1946, Stockport vs. Doncaster lasted three hours and 23 minutes, all because of the wretched need to produce a golden goal in extra time.

The Laws of the Game dictate extra time as one of several winner-deciding resolutions to a deadlocked match. In most cases, tied matches go to extra time, but during World Cup qualifying playoffs and Champions League knockout stages, the situation isn’t that simple.

In those cases, extra time is enforced in the second leg when the aggregate goals — followed by the away goals rule — doesn't produce a winner. If push comes to shove, if extra time fails to produce a winning team, we get penalties.

Again, it usually depends on a specific league’s arbitration. The NCAA soccer rules, for example, dictate all matches that are tied after 90 minutes go to extra time. The ever so chaotic Golden Goal rule is enacted as the norm.

The ageless idiom of "rules are only meant to be broken" faces an equally mad opponent in extra time. Granted, in some cases it’s absolutely necessary, but how hard could it be to just go home with a draw? The beautiful game does involve humans though, and we’re not exactly a species interested in brevity or simplicity, are we?

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