England pulverised Iran 6-2, the match set a more obscure FIFA record: It was the longest World Cup group stage match.
The marathon match had stretched an extra 27 minutes across both halves due to a series of stoppages that were added as part of FIFA’s relatively new time-policing efforts.
During the group stages, referees added a total of 563 minutes of play – more than nine hours. Only one of the tournament’s eight opening games finished under 100 minutes.
In the 1-1 draw between Wales and the USA, 14 minutes and 34 seconds were added to the clock while 12 minutes and 49 seconds were tacked onto the Netherlands vs Senegal game.
Football matches are supposed to be 90 minutes of normal time unless it’s a knockout match. FIFA’s fourth officials routinely add time at the end of each half.
At the 2018 World Cup, FIFA began heavily policing stoppage times to account for time spent on injuries, celebrations, video assistant referee (VAR) reviews and substitutions.
Before this year’s World Cup, Pierluigi Collina, chairman of FIFA’s referees committee and a former referee himself, warned fans to brace themselves for a number of games eclipsing 100 minutes.
FIFA has long complained about lengthy goal celebrations and unnecessary showboating, which can sometimes span a minute or more.
In Qatar, specifically, many fans have complained that the technology has cramped the flow of the game, sometimes adding several minutes to a match’s stoppage time.