How and Why the Penalty Shootout is Used to Break Ties in Soccer


There is no bigger adrenaline rush during the World Cup than when a game ends with a penalty shootout. 

The 2022 World Cup has seen many of these nerve-wracking moments go down, most recently with Friday’s quarterfinal action that saw Argentina take out the Netherlands in a penalty shootout and Croatia upsetting Brazil in a similar fashion.

Fans around the world also saw Croatia defeat Japan in a round of 16 game that came down to penalty kicks while Morocco slid past Spain the same way on Tuesday. 

As we head into the second half of quarterfinal play, here’s everything you need to know about how a penalty shootout plays out:

What happens in a penalty shootout if everyone scores?

If all players on both teams score during a penalty shootout then the first kickers go again, followed by the second then the third, etc.

If the teams are tied after five rounds of kicks, “sudden death” is implemented, giving additional rounds of one kick each until one team scores and the other misses.

What are the rules for goalkeeper in penalty shootout?

There are a few rules defending goalkeepers must apply during a penalty shootout.

Until the ball has been kicked, the goalkeeper must remain on the goal line, facing the shooter in between the goalposts. Additionally, goalkeepers cannot touch the goalposts, crossbar or goal net.

Who can take part in a penalty shootout?

The only players that can partake in the penalty shootout are those who are on the field when the game ends. 

What happens if a penalty shootout is 11-11?

If the playing field is still leveled after five pairs of kicks, the shootout goes into sudden death. 

There are unlimited sudden death rounds until one team scores and the other misses.

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