How long is half-time in the World Cup? 2022 FIFA match rules explained

The 2022 World Cup final will be held at the Lusail Stadium in Qatar on December 18

The 2022 World Cup kicked off on Sunday November 20 as hosts Qatar fell to a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Enner Valencia’s brace for Ecuador. After a dramatic week full of upsets and stellar performances, we are set to kick off the final round of group stage fixtures today.

Each national team has only three matches in the group stage to earn themselves enough points to finish in the top two positions to then qualify for the knockout stages. Those that make it past the groups wil then kick off the Round of 16 on Saturday December 3, followed by the quarter-finals between December 9 and December 10, the semi-finals on December 13 and December 14 and the highly anticipated final on December 8 at 3pm UK time.

While a number of countries will be used to the heat in Qatar, there are plenty - like England - that may feel at a disadvantage by the high temperatures, meaning the half-time break could be vital for them to rehydrate and gain the energy for another gruelling 45 minutes. Here is everything you need to know about half-time and the World Cup tournament.

How long is half-time at the World Cup?

Just like club football, the 2022 Qatar World Cup matches have a 15 minute break in between the two 45 minute halves. The referees are also allowed to designate water breaks if the heat in Qatar is too intense, though this is yet to happen in the current tournament. Water breaks were used in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and occured approximately 30 minutes into each half, lasting three minutes.

How many subs can be made in the World Cup?

There has been a lot of rule changing around substitutions in recent seasons following the COVID-19 outbreak and it has changed again from those seen at the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Teams are now be able to make five substitutions in this winter’s tournament - the same amount as many European domestic leagues, as well as Euro 2020.

However, managers are restricted to when they can make their subs. Each team is allowed only three in-game opportunities, plus the chance to do so at half-time. This means double or triple changes can be made, but managers can’t make five seperate substitutions and run down the clock.

Why has there been so much added time?

Football fans will have noticed that there has been a significant increase in the amount of added time in World Cup fixtures so far, with almost half an hour added to England’s win over Iran last week. Similarly, Iran’s two goals against Wales on Friday came after the 98th minute.

Officials are paying extra attention to added time during this tournament, with stoppages added for time-wasting, injuries, goal celebrations, substitutions, VAR interventions and bookings. Speaking to ESPN before the tournament, Pierluigi Collina, chairman of the FIFA referees committee and a former World Cup official, said: “What we already did in Russia [2018] was to more accurately calculate the time to be compensated.

“We told everybody don’t 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. 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.”

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