The England vs Iran match saw over 28 minutes of stoppage time awarded.

After only two days of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, we can notice a pattern emerging: Stoppage-time. A total of roughly 65 minutes of additional time have been played in the first four games, with England vs Iran lasting an astounding 117 minutes and 16 seconds.

That was partly because of a head injury sustained by Iran’s goalie Alireza Beiranvand. But it’s also part of Fifa’s initiative to prevent delays by better tracking how long each game is paused. Injuries, VAR calls, subs, penalties, and red cards are all common reasons for game delays. Players would also often purposefully prolong the stoppages to run out of the clock.

Chairman of FIFA’s referees’ committee Pierluigi Collina said last week that fourth officials were told to keep track of time lost during games at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar. They also tried to do this at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

“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.” As a result, new records are created in almost every game.

According to Opta, four matches with the most extra time in a single half, occurred on the second day (Monday) of the FIFA World Cup 2022. All of them occurred on Monday since records began in 1966.

Most extra time in a single half of a game

  • England v Iran first half (14:08 minutes)
  • England v Iran second half (13:08)
  • USA v Wales second half (10:34)
  • Senegal v Netherlands second half (10:03)

Not surprisingly, the extra time allowed resulted in a flurry of late-game goals.

In the World Cup, the latest goal ever scored (not counting overtime) occurred when Mehdi Taremi scored a penalty for Iran against England at the 102:30 mark. Precisely 17 seconds later, the Dutch’s Davy Klaassen scored the second-latest goal of the game for his team.

Some supporters have praised Fifa’s efforts to crack down on time-wasting, while others have expressed concern that the tactic prolongs games for no good reason.

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