Critical observers would have noticed the prolonged added time in the shock defeat of Argentina by Saudi Arabia.
As the clock ticked doown to regulation time, added time of eight minutes was flashed. There was tension as Argentina tried to rescue their reputation by at least pulling a draw following an unexected 2-1 lead by Saudi Arabia.
Nearly double the added time was played prompting speculations that officials were trying to aid Argentina with the prolonged added time.
Official record indicates that 13 minutes and 53 seconds were played in the added time.
A similar scenario had unfolded the previous day in the 6-2 defeat of Iran by England when 13 minutes and 59 seconds were added in the first half.
In the second half, 10 minutes were added making a total of 23 minutes 59 seconds of additional playing time.
These two games are not isolated cases. All the first five matches of the projected 62-game series were affected.
Those games had about 85 minutes added on between them. Could this be the new norm?
Legendary referee and chairman of the FIFA referees committee, Pierluigi Collina provided an answer in an interview with ESPN
“What we already did in Russia  was to more accurately calculate the time to be compensated.
“We told everybody to 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.
“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,” he concluded.
Added time in Qatar 2022
England v Iran first half (13.59 minutes)
Argentina v Saudi Arabia second half (13.53)
England v Iran second half (13:05)
USA v Wales second half (10:32)
(Senegal v Netherlands second half (10:03)