Why is there so much added time in the World Cup?
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We’re only two days into this World Cup and already we’re seeing a theme unfold:
Stop time And a lot of it.
The four games so far have had almost 65 minutes added between them, with England’s match against Iran with an incredible duration of 117 minutes and 16 seconds.
That’s partly down to injury: Iran goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand suffered a concussion after a nasty clash of heads early on. But it is also part of a concerted effort by Fifa to reduce time-wasting by more accurately tracking the amount of time play is stopped.
Reasons why play is stopped include injuries, video assistant decisions, substitutions, penalties and red cards, with some players often deliberately delaying the restart after these incidents in order to kill the clock.
The chairman of FIFA’s referees’ committee, Pierluigi Collina, confirmed last week that the fourth officials had been instructed to track time lost during the match during the tournament in Qatar, something they had also tried to do at the ‘previous World Cup in Russia in 2018.
“In Russia, we tried to be more careful about making up for lost time during games and that’s why you saw six, seven or even eight minutes added,” he said. ESPN.
“Think about it: if you’re three goals down at half-time, you’re probably going to lose four or five minutes in total to the celebrations and the restart.”
The result of this new approach was that several records were broken.
Seconds opt, the four individual sides with the most shutouts in a single World Cup match since records began in 1966 were all on Mondays:
- First half England-Iran (minute 14:08)
- England – Iran second half (13:08)
- USA – Wales second half (10.34am)
- Senegal – Netherlands second half (10:03)
Unsurprisingly, all that added time led to some VERY late goals.
Mehdi Taremi’s penalty for Iran against England came at 102.30, the last World Cup goal to be scored without extra time.
This was quickly followed by the second last, with Davy Klaassen’s strike in the Netherlands it arrives after 98 minutes and 17 seconds.
The approach has certainly caused an uproar on social media, with some fans praising Fifa’s attempts to crack down on time-wasting, but others feeling it is leading to unnecessarily long games.
Either way, it should make you think twice if you ever think about leaving a game early. You don’t know how much action you’ll miss.
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