What is Stoppage Time?


Soccer is full of quirky rules and traditions. Among those is stoppage time — the sport’s alternative to timeouts and stopped clocks — and the chance to settle the score before heading into overtime or penalty kicks. 

Stoppage time has played a big role in Qatar, with multiple games being decided as the clock winds down. 

Here’s a look at stoppage time during the World Cup:

What is stoppage time?

Soccer is a unique pressure cooker, requiring players to play for two uninterrupted halves. To account for the normal hull of a game — dead balls, substitutions, injuries etc. — game officials add time to the end of each half, determined by an estimate of the number of “wasted minutes.”

Why has stoppage time been so long at the 2022 World Cup?

If it seems like there’s been a disproportionate number of double-digit stoppage time periods, that’s not a coincidence.

In a statement ahead of the tournament, Pierluigi Collina — FIFA’s referees committee chairman — said “the purpose is to offer more show to those watching the World Cup.” He went on to say that referees had been instructed to closely monitor delays to maximize effective game play. 

Soccer Metrics Research found that playing time at the 2018 World Cup averaged between 52 to 58 minutes, down nearly 10 minutes from the 2014 World Cup when it was between 60 and 67 minutes. 

Qatar has already hosted the longest group-stage game in World Cup history when England and Iran played 117 minutes in the second match of the tournament. 

Why is there no overtime in group play?

Unlike most American sports, overtime is not a foregone conclusion in most soccer games. Across many leagues and tournaments, regular season and group play ends at the second half of stoppage time. Fear not, once the Round of 16 is set, overtime and penalty kicks are back in the mix.

How many goals have been scored in stoppage time? 

As of Friday afternoon, five goals had been scored in stoppage time — three of them by Iran. Spain and the Netherlands also registered goals in stoppage time.  

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