How extra time & penalties work in the World Cup knockout stage

Cristiano Ronaldo Portugal 2022
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Everything you need to know about extra time and penalty shootouts in the 2022 World Cup.

After the World Cup group stages comes to a close, the top two nations from each group enter a 16-team knockout.

The winner of each match will progress from the round of 16 to the quarter-final, semi-final and eventually, the final. But what if both sides are level after 90 minutes?

To help you get up to speed, GOAL brings you everything you need to know about how extra time and penalties work in the World Cup.

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When does a game go to extra time?

Games go to extra time in the knockout stages of a tournament when both teams are level after regulation time.

Some knockout tournaments, such as the English FA Cup, have a 'replay' following a draw, which involves the same fixture played with the home and away sides reversed.

Given that a World Cup is played at a neutral venue (apart from for the host nation), this method isn't feasible, meaning extra time is the adopted format in the knockout stages.

How long is extra time in football?

Extra time consists of two halves of 15 minutes amounting to 30 extra minutes in total. Extra time is not to be confused with 'added time', which describes the minutes added on to each half due to stoppages in play (e.g. an injury, substitution, goal celebrations, etc.).

Extra time can have its own 'added time' at the end of each half, although this is usually no more than a few minutes due to the shortness of the periods.

Croatia extra time World Cup 2018

When does a game go to penalties?

If both teams are level after 120 minutes of football, including any necessary 'added time', the game will go to a penalty shootout.

While this is not always the case in tournaments that employ the 'away goals' rule, this again is not used at the World Cup given that it is held at a neutral venue.

This means all tied games after 120 minutes will go to a penalty shootout, more commonly referred to as simply 'penalties'.

Croatia World Cup 2018

How many penalties are taken in a shootout?

Each team takes five penalties each. The spot kicks can be taken by any player who finished the game on the pitch, including the goalkeeper, but cannot be taken by any of the substitutes. The team to score the most of their five penalties wins the game and goes through to the next round.

What order are penalties hit in?

Penalties are taken in alternating order - so team A, team B, team A, team B, and so on. The team to take the first spot kick is decided by a coin toss before the shootout, and the referee chooses which goal the penalties will be taken in.

England World Cup 2018

What is sudden-death in penalty shootouts?

Sudden-death is used when both teams are still level after their respective five spot kicks. If the scores are equal after five kicks, each team will have one penalty each to try and score until the other fails.

So, if team A scores their kick, team B must score theirs to stay in the game. If team A misses, team B must score to win. If both miss or both score, the sudden-death continues until one team has the advantage and therefore eventually progresses to the next round.