If you’ve been following the FIFA World Cup, you might have noticed that fourth officials show a high number of added minutes when the 90’ mark approaches. The most prominent example for this is England’s 6-2 blowout of Iran, where both the first and second half finished after 13 minutes of stoppage time.
That means both teams played up to 116 minutes of football, only four minutes off the standard duration of extra time after 90 minutes. Senegal-Netherlands and USA-Wales both finished after 90+11 minutes, and Argentina’s shock loss to Saudi Arabia finished after 90+14 minutes.
So, what gives?
Pierluigi Collina, the chairman of the FIFA referee committee, said it’s all down to accurate calculation of lost time when play is stopped or time ticks away due to celebrations, injuries, and others. It is also meant to discourage players from time wasting.
“We told everybody to not be surprised if they see the fourth official raising the electronic board with a big number on it, six, seven or eight minutes. If you want more active time, we need to be ready to see this kind of additional time given”, Collina said (ESPN via One Football)
“Think of a match with three goals scored. A celebration normally takes one, one and a half minutes, so with three goals scored, you lose five or six minutes. What we want to do is accurately calculate the added time at the end of each half. It can be the fourth official to do that, we were successful in Russia  and we expect the same in Qatar. I am not talking about VAR intervention; this is something which is different and calculated by the Video Assistant Referee in a very precise way.”