The last 10 minutes plus injury time usually gets the spectator full value for his/her money. These few minutes are filled with the most number of attacks, goals, cards, injuries and a whole load of things. The team chasing the match generally would reserve its best for the last to get an equalizer or the goals that would guarantee them a victory. However, we also get to see the other side of football, apart from defending for their lives the opponent uses other tactics to thwart these efforts. Yes, the dreaded time wasting tactics.How many times are you left frustrated with the players using every trick in the book to waste time? How many times would you want your team to indulge in all those tricks to run the clock down? Quite a paradox. The frustrating side of football is perhaps an important tactic in the modern day game, as managers look to maximize their chances of getting a positive result. Be it running to the corner flag, opening and retying shoelaces, a deliberate foul, a second ball on the pitch are just few of the tactics used to waste time.We look at the most infamous time wasting tactics deployed in football.
#1 The injury time substitution
Remember the saying “Save your best for the last”; in football this famous idiom is translated to “save the best time wasting tactic for the last”. What is most frustrating for a team trying to score a late equalizer?
It’s to see the fourth official’s board go up for one last switch by the opposition. If this wasn’t enough, there is also a touchline mix-up of which player should be replaced. Most conveniently the player to be substituted is at the farthest end of the pitch.
This results in a really “long walk”, which is slower than that of the supermodels on the ramp. To play around with more time the player would applaud the fans, shake hands with the referee (God knows why!), handover the captain’s arm-band or congratulate his team-mates.
Even the best of the managers rely on this tactic and it will remain the one that will always be used.
#2 The corner flag attraction
That the footballers are attracted towards goal is understood, but there is one more thing on the field that the players cannot resist. Yes, the corner flag. Perhaps, the most forgotten object gets the maximum attention during the dying minutes of the game.
The oldest time wasting trick in the book, any team’s manager would want his players to take the ball to the corner flag in the opposition half. Be it dancing around the ball, standing over the ball, lying over the ball or pushing away opponents from the ball, the motive is to stay at the corner flag as long as possible.
Two things are achieved through this trick, the opposition is far away from the defence so they would have to travel a long distance before they do any damage and of course time is definitely wasted.
#3 The light year goal kick
Apart from making world class saves in a match, goalkeepers have a big influence on a match by their ability to waste time. Goal kicks are the easiest and the best opportunity to delay the restart of play.
One of the most sought after tactics employed by travelling managers, the goalkeeper is encouraged to take all the time in the world for the goal kick. In the video, it can be seen how ex-Arsenal goalkeeper Jens Lehman wastes time.
He jumps over the hoarding to collect the ball (when there are ball boys all around eager to throw balls at him) and then ‘accidentally’ fails to throw the ball back over the hoarding on to the pitch. When he finally gets the ball on the pitch, he takes some more time to kick it out of the box.
All he gets is a yellow card. Probably a small sacrifice to dent any chances the opponents might have.
#4 The dreaded ball boys
The innocent and the smallest people on the sidelines of the pitch turn out to be the dreaded devils when the match is at its closing stages. The home team generally gets the best service from them be it when they are winning or losing.
When the team is losing, there tend to be extra boys on the sidelines to haul the ball back into the pitch as early as possible. However, the little devils show their true character when the home team is winning and precious time needs to be wasted.
The ball boys refuse to give the ball, they also sometimes fail to release the ball or do whatever is in their power to stop play. Just ask Eden Hazard and he would vouch for this particular ‘skill’ of the ball boys. Here he is trying to teach a ball boy a ‘lesson’.
#5 The Oscar winning injury
What would be the best way to waste time if any of the other tactics fail? Just drop to the ground at the slightest of contacts, hold any part of the body and start screaming about it. The referee would have to stop the game and tend to the player’s fake injury.
If the player is lucky, apart from precious time being wasted, his performance might get the opponent booked or even sent off. Talk about bonus points for time wasting.
Clearly in the video, the player goes down to the ground with a finger poke to his ear. A performance that would give even Matthew McConaughey a run for his award.