"It can take them 30 seconds to take a throw-in and the referee does nothing about it." Marc Wilmots' grapes were, in truth, a little sour after Argentina beat his Belgium side in a more comfortable fashion than the 1-0 scoreline suggested, but he had a point here. The ball was in play for 53 of the 97 minutes in Brasilia, a figure that was not too far short of the tournament average.It's far from the most damning statistic of its kind: of 96 minutes' engagement between Brazil and Colombia, the ball was active for a hardly believable 39; when the Colombians met Uruguay in the second round, the figure was 49 minutes from 94; when Brazil and Chile faced each other for 128 minutes in Belo Horizonte, they only used the ball for 70 of them. Confronted with figures like these, it is hard to escape the conclusion that the nigglier, rotationally fouling sides are seeing the odds stacked in their favour.There is a mitigating factor to partly explain the mean of 56.8 minutes: it's hot out there, and it is consequently difficult to demand that matches move at 100 miles an hour. But when nearly, and sometimes over, half a game's allotted time is spent standing around and doing nothing, something feels wrong. There is a cultural factor at play to some extent, with the pace of the play in Latin American football tending to differ from that in Europe, but stronger refereeing would surely have given sides such as Belgium and Colombia a better chance of getting back into their games -- and provided the spectacles we'd hoped for."