For the first time in World Cup history, there was a water break.
With the United States and Portugal playing in the hot and humid conditions at the Arena Amazonia in Manaus, the referees decided to call a water break in the 39th minute, per NBC Sports:
First water break ever in the history of the #WorldCup, due to heat.— NBC Sports Soccer (@NBCSportsSoccer) June 22, 2014
While it was an unprecedented event, it was an order that referees had been given, as Fox Sports noted:
WATER BREAK! There's a stoppage in play for both teams to rehydrate, as FIFA was ordered to do several days ago. #USAvsPOR— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) June 22, 2014
According to The Associated Press, via Fox Sports, a Brazilian court ordered FIFA to give water breaks after 30 minutes of play if the temperature reached 32 degrees Celsius (89.6 degrees Fahrenheit).
It wasn't just the heat, either. During game time, the humidity in Manaus sat at a sticky 70 percent, per The Weather Channel. The risk of injury or heat stroke increases at an exponential rate in those kind of conditions, and Bleacher Report's Will Carroll applauded the move:
Water break? Ok. Good call ref.— Will Carroll (@injuryexpert) June 22, 2014
Naturally, as the players broke to re-hydrate, jokes about orange slices became inevitable. CBS Sports' Jon Solomon and Jeff Borzello were quick to the punch:
Wait, that's the first World Cup water break EVER? Right call, but so disappointed no orange slices too.— Jon Solomon (@JonSolomonCBS) June 22, 2014
America dominates water breaks. Who brought the oranges?— Jeff Borzello (@jeffborzello) June 22, 2014
Of course, it wasn't all jokes. Fox Sports wondered about the timing of the call, while Grantland's Shane Ryan noticed the stoppage time didn't exactly add up to the time the players spent on the sideline:
39' POR 1-0: Referee calls a water break. We're not sure this is within FIFA standards. It's nasty there. But why now?— FOX Soccer Trax (@FOXSoccerTrax) June 22, 2014
How do they give them 2 minutes extra time when there were three minutes for a water break?— Shane Ryan (@ShaneRyanHere) June 22, 2014
There are certainly kinks to be worked out. This is something referees have never done before, and if they are going to continue to dole out breaks during the World Cup, they will have to figure out the best times to do so without altering momentum or really affecting the game.
Ultimately, though, this is about player safety, and while water breaks aren't sexy, they are good for the game in these kinds of conditions.