World Cup’s New Theme Stirs Up Controversy

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Credit: Jannik Skorna/Unsplash

This World Cup has only a few games left, but we immediately recognise a theme: stoppage time. Also in plenty, as reported by BBC.

Time-wasting? 

A total of 85 minutes have been added to the five games thus far, with England’s encounter versus Iran clocking in at an astounding 117 minutes and 16 seconds.

That was partially due to an injury; Iran’s Alireza Beiranvand, the goalie, had a concussion following a horrific head collision early on. But it also forms a part of Fifa’s concerted drive to reduce time-wasting by more precisely tracking the length of breaks in play.

The pattern persisted in the opening match of Tuesday, as Saudi Arabia’s shocking victory against Argentina required seven minutes of first-half stoppage time and nearly 14 minutes more at the conclusion of the second half.

What was the reason?

A game may be stopped for a variety of reasons, including injuries, decisions made by the video assistant referee, substitutions, penalties, and red cards. Some players may purposefully delay the game’s restart following such situations in an effort to run out the clock.

The fourth officials were told to keep track of time lost throughout the game during the tournament in Qatar, something they had previously attempted to do during the previous World Cup in Russia in 2018. This was verified by Pierluigi Collina, the chairman of Fifa’s referee’s committee, last week.

“In Russia, we tried to be more accurate in compensating for time lost during games and that’s why you saw six, seven or even eight minutes added on,” he told reporters at a pre-tournament briefing.

“Think about it: if you have three goals in a half, you’ll probably lose four or five minutes in total to celebrations and the restart.”

Records were broken

The result of this new approach was a number of records being broken.

According to Opta the five single halves with the most stoppage time in a single World Cup match since records began in 1966 were all on Monday and Tuesday:

  • England v Iran first half (13.59 minutes)
  • Argentina v Saudi Arabia second half (13.53)
  • England v Iran second half (13:05)
  • USA v Wales second half (10:32)
  • Senegal v Netherlands second half (10:03)

Very late goals 

Naturally, with all that extra time, some goals were scored VERY LATE.

The latest World Cup goal without extra time is Mehdi Taremi’s penalty for Iran versus England at 102:30 in the game.

After 98 minutes and 17 seconds, the Netherlands’ Davy Klaassen scored the second-latest goal, which came quickly after.

The strategy has undoubtedly generated controversy on social media, with some fans applauding Fifa’s efforts to stop time-wasting while others believe it is resulting in needlessly long games.

In either case, it ought to cause you to reconsider abandoning a game early in the future. You are unaware of the amount of activity you will miss.

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Source: BBC

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