Additional time at the World Cup: many more minutes of happiness

This is a detail that has not escaped anyone: the referees have granted a lot of additional time since the kick-off of the 2022 World Cup. A trend that we owe to FIFA’s desire to compensate for the loss of time, and which we can only rejoice.

The 2022 World Cup has just started, but a record has already been broken. This Monday, the match between England and Iran (6-2) lasted … 117 minutes and 16 seconds, becoming the longest meeting in the history of the World Cup (excluding overtime) since Opta collected the data, that is to say 1966. To the fourteen minutes of additional time contiguous at the end of the first act, after the KO suffered by the Persian goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand, were in fact added thirteen minutes of extra time before the whistle final, which allowed Mehdi Taremi to register, on a penalty granted thanks to the VAR, a very late goal (90e+13). An isolated case ? Far from it, because the other two games of the day, Senegal-Netherlands (0-2) and United States-Wales (1-1) were also treated to a nice extension, the final whistle having each time taken place beyond the 90e+10.

“A celebration normally takes a minute, a minute and a half. So with three goals scored, you lose five or six minutes. » Pierluigi Collina at ESPN

Fighting wasted time

These three games – like the opening one, by the way – therefore lasted a total of more than 100 minutes. And it’s a safe bet that this will happen again many times between now and the end of the tournament, since instructions have been given to the World Cup referees to be very precise in calculating additional time. The objective, which was already topical in Russia four years ago: to fight against loss of time, whether voluntary or incompressible (execution of a touch or a set piece, etc.) . “We want to avoid games with 42, 43, 44 minutes of effective time. So the times of substitutions, penalties, celebrations, medical care or of course VAR will have to be compensated. warned Pierluigi Collina, the head of FIFA referees, last Friday. “A celebration normally takes a minute, a minute and a half. So with three goals scored, you lose five or six minutes. , he had illustrated with ESPN. Last spring, it was rumored that the world body was considering extending the official duration of matches from 90 to 100 minutes. Fortunately, we haven’t come to that yet. But this assumed desire to guarantee an effective playing time as high as possible is thus concretized by many additional minutes at the end of the period.

Satisfaction after aberrations

Some, especially those who only get into football once every two or four years, may be able to find these post-45 extenders.e or 90e abusive. However, we should be happy about it. Especially after having witnessed, throughout the first part of the season, real aberrations in the allocation of additional time, which seems very frequently calculated with a wet finger and, more annoying, well below the time lost until then. Not to mention the many times when, faced with a heavy score, the men in black decide to shorten the suffering of the martyred team by sending everyone back to the locker room without a second more. What can be admitted in a dry knockout match is only nonsense in the league or in the group stage, where a place can be decided by a goal. Ask PSG, who did not have against Maccabi Haifa (7-2) the few minutes of additional time which allowed Benfica, against the same opponent, to plant the last banderilla (1-6) and finish in extremis top of their pool in the Champions League. Even if the difference on the scoreboard was significant, the England-Iran referee let the 22 players fight until the end. And, who knows, when it comes time to do the accounts, maybe the penalty scored by Taremi will be important.

By Raphael Brosse

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