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What happens when every player scores in a penalty shootout?

1:19 AM MYT 13/12/2022
Cristiano Ronaldo Portugal penalty
What happens when every player has taken a penalty in the shootout and the scores are still tied?

Five attempts on each side are usually enough to settle things in a penalty shootout scenario, but not always.

Sometimes, a penalty shootout runs on a little longer than expected. If the scores are tied after the first 10, the rest of the team has the chance to get involved in the drama. Very occasionally, a penalty shootout remains level even after every player has taken one.

What exactly happens in this scenario? GOAL brings you the answer to this question and more.

How does a penalty shootout work?

Firstly, penalty shootouts only occur in the knockout stages of competitions. Whether this is the semi-final of an FA Cup, a last-16 tie in the Champions League or the World Cup final. The format is not replicated in a league game.

As we have previously covered in this penalty shootout guide, the premise of spot kicks is relatively simple.

Penalties occur when two teams can't be separated after all of the allocated playing time is finished. In most cases, this is 90 minutes plus extra time. Although there are some competitions that go straight to penalties when the game finishes, without extra time. For example, the Carabao Cup.

The penalty shootout process goes like this:

  • The two teams toss a coin to decide which end of the pitch that spot kicks are taken and then the order of the penalty takers.
  • Five initial players can be selected to take penalty kicks by each team, with the order of the penalty takers also at their discretion
  • Five penalty kicks are taken for both sides, one after another
  • If the score is level after the first 10 penalties, the shootout carries on into a sudden-death situation
  • The match is decided when one team scores their sudden death penalty and the other fails to convert

What does 'sudden death' mean in penalties?

The first five penalties each take place in a best-of-five scenario. Consequently, the team that is ahead after five kicks each wins, regardless of the order in which they score or miss.

If after five penalties each, the score is level, the shootout moves into a different phase. From penalty number six onwards, the winning team is crowned when one scores and one misses.

So if team A misses their sudden death penalty, team B has the chance to win by converting theirs. If team A scores their chance but team B misses theirs, team A is victorious.

This is what is known as sudden death.

What happens if every player scores in a penalty shootout?

If all 22 penalty takers score their penalty kicks, things effectively reset, with every eligible player having a second opportunity to take a penalty kick. This time, sudden death would apply from the beginning.

These penalties don't have to be taken in the same order as the first round.

It's worth remembering that all players don't necessarily have to score to enable a second round to commence.

As is the nature of the ABAB (or ABBA) format, the winner is decided when one team scores and the other team misses their sudden death penalty. So if team A missed their sudden death penalty, and team B also missed, the shootout would continue to the next round.

Thus it is not impossible to have a scenario where team A and team B fail to convert any of their first 22 penalties. In this case, things would effectively reset again.

This process repeats for as long as it needs to until the tie is settled, there is no limit on how many kicks can be taken.

When has this happened before?

  • In 2014, Liverpool overcame Middlesbrough by 14 penalties to 13. Every player took a spot kick, including Simon Mignolet and Jamal Blackman, the goalkeepers.
  • In 2008, Olympiakos beat AEK Athens by 15 penalties to 14, with 30 penalties being taken that day.
  • On the international stage, the Netherlands under 21s beat England under 21's 13-12.

The longest shootout in history happened when 10th English tier clubs Washington and Bedlington battled it out in a 54-penalty-long shootout. In March 2022 Washington won by 25 penalties to 24, with all 22 players taking a penalty not just once but twice, before the game was settled.