According to data collected from Fox Sports TV coverage, France showcased a master class in time wasting during the match against Belgium in the semifinal of the World Cup.
A stats-based website Eldorado collected the data to show how much time France really wasted during the crucial stages of the match with Belgium looking to get back into the match, trailing France 1-0 after a Samuel Umtiti headed goal.
In the final 26 minutes of the game, during which time-wasting was most pronounced, only 11 minutes and 52 seconds were possible.
FIFA does not count every pause in the game towards stoppage time. For example, for goal kicks and throw ins, time allowances are not made unless delays are excessive. FIFA separately instructs that injuries, substitutions, time-wasting, and celebrations should be factored into stoppage time.
The Eldorado reviewer (twitter handle: eldo_co) tracked time using a stopwatch to measure the number of minutes that were wasted in the final 26 minutes.
The report writes that altogether, 3 minutes and 13 seconds of the final 26 minutes were paused for goal kicks and throw-ins – about one-eighth of the game's home stretch.
A total of four minutes and 8 seconds were wasted because of injuries to France’s Umtiti and Blaise Matuidi. Eden Hazard was hurt in the 81st minute and got back to his feet in 48 seconds.
Hazard and Matuidi both got injured when they clashed in minute 80:57. France took their time with a goal kick and then Belgium set up a long free kick. France then took another goal kick and the clock at that point read 88:30. Between minutes 80:57 to 88:30, only two minutes of action was possible.
Six minutes of stoppage time were added after the 90 minutes mark but only two and a half minutes play actually took place.
From the 71st minute on (26 minutes and 13 seconds of match time), France and Belgium match ws paused or delayed for 14 minutes and 21 seconds – 55% of what should have been the most exciting part of the semifinal. France was primarily responsible for 12 minutes and 8 seconds (85%) of that wasted time, Eldorado reported.
In the end, every team wastes time during crucial moments when the game is already going in their favour. France were no different. However, the fact that play was continuously interrupted, resulted in Belgium not being able to find any momentum while looking for an equalizer.