World Cup | 65 minutes of additional time: why matches drag on

This is a feature which, if you have followed at least one match since the start of the World Cup, has probably not escaped you. In Qatar, additional times swell and meetings drag on. Since the opening of the ball on Sunday, none of the four confrontations lasted less than 100 minutes. England – Iran even reached … 117 minutes of play, almost the equivalent of a match with extra time.

In detail, here is what it gives:

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  • Qatar – Ecuador: +5′ in the first half, +5’22” in the second;
  • England – Iran +14’22” in the first half, +12’34” in the second;
  • Senegal – Netherlands: +2’41” in the first period, +10’01” in the second;
  • United States – Wales: + 3’59” in the first half, +10’35” in the second.

In total, there were therefore almost 65 minutes of extra playing time in the space of four games. On a case-by-case basis, there was indeed a short VAR interruption and a few changes in the opening match, two time-consuming injuries in the clash between Senegal and the Netherlands, and a few barely noticeable incidents in the first draw of this World… but it remains difficult to find material to justify this rab.

We told everyone not to be surprised

Finally, the 117 minutes of England – Iran even seem to be the least surprising since the Iranian goalkeeper’s injury at the start of the match and the length of the treatment he received on the pitch cut short the first period of a good quarter of ‘hour. Nevertheless, the sample of matches impacted by this new trend is already too large for it to be just a strange coincidence. And some signals don’t lie.

During the last poster on Monday, Mr. Al-Jassim, referee of the meeting, for example stopped his watch and took care to point out it to all the players when Ampadu, a Welsh midfielder then crippled with cramps, collapsed at the midfield, right in the middle of added time. A reflex which, until this World Cup, was very far from systematic. All while the nine minutes added to regulation time already seemed generous.

“The first game is always important, but this one more than the others”

But in reality, the men with the whistle only apply the instructions. “We told everyone not to be surprised to see the fourth referees lift the electronic board in just six, seven or eight minutes of extra timePierluigi Collina, chairman of the FIFA referees committee, explained Friday in an interview with ESPN. If we want more effective time, we must be ready to see this type of additional time.”

“No change in the rules”, but in the facts…

Take the example of a three-goal gamehe added. A celebration usually lasts one minute to one and a half minutes. So with three goals you easily lose five to six minutes. What we want to do is accurately calculate added time at the end of each period. It started in Russia and it can be recognized in Qatar.”

Proof that FIFA has taken a big step towards one of the wishes of Gianni Infantino, its boss, namely to make matches last 100 minutes or more. Last April, the authority had published a press release to stifle what was still only a rumor.

FIFA would like to clarify that there will be no changes to the rules regarding the duration of football matches for the World Cup or any other competition“, she wrote. The rules have not actually changed. But the matches have.

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