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World Cup 2022 in Qatar: Are there extra time and penalties in knockout stages? Rules explained for shoot-outs


Nothing is more dramatic in football than a World Cup penalty shoot-out.

Some of the most memorable and iconic moments in the history of World Cup tournaments have involved penalties under the most enormous pressure.

With the group stages over and the last 16 beginning on Saturday with the Netherlands against the USA at 15:00 UK time, it is the perfect time to have a refresher on the rules for the tournament and how extra-time and penalty shoot-outs work.

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What are the extra time rules for the 2022 World Cup?

While the astonishing increase in stoppage time for the group-stage matches has had a lot of attention and prompted much alarm, fans will have noticed that there was not an official extra time period after the final whistle.

All of that changes for the knockout stages as extra time and penalty shoot-outs become a possibility and a dramatic finale effectively hangs over the players in each match.

Beginning with the last-16 stage and running through to the showpiece final, there could be an additional 30-minute period of extra time before penalty kicks if a winner has still not been decided after that.

There are two halves for the extra time period, each of 15 minutes, to help attempt to decide the winner. There is a short break between the two halves in extra time and the teams swap ends as they do at half-time in the initial 90 minutes.

Is there sudden death or a ‘golden goal’ in extra time?

There is no sudden-death rule or ‘golden goal’ in extra time. The full 30 minutes are added, and the team with the score in their favour at the end of extra time wins the match.

Instead of a ‘golden goal’ where the first goal scored wins the match, if it is still a stalemate after 120 total minutes of play, the match is then decided with a penalty shoot-out.

The first World Cup played with the fleeting ‘golden goal’ rule was in 1998 and history was made when Laurent Blanc scored to give the hosts France victory over Paraguay in the last 16.

The ‘golden goal’ was last used at a World Cup in 2002 when Turkey beat Senegal in the quarter-finals as Ilhan Mansiz scored the final one to put his name in the history books.

How do penalty shoot-outs work in the World Cup?

A penalty shoot-out at the World Cup consists of five spot kicks each. If a winner has not been determined after the initial five spot kicks, the shoot-out will then continue to a sudden death stage, with both teams having a penalty kick each until there is a winner.

There are many very famous examples of penalty shoot-outs being used to decide huge World Cup matches. Perhaps the most memorable was Roberto Baggio smashing his effort over the crossbar to hand Brazil the trophy in the 1994 World Cup final in the USA.

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Roberto Baggio misses his penalty during Italy v Brasil, in the final of the USA World Cup, on July 17, 1994 in Pasadena

Image credit: Getty Images

Why has there been so much added time played at the 2022 World Cup?

In total, there was almost half an hour added in England’s thumping 6-2 win over Iran in Group B – 14 minutes at the end of the first half and a further 10 at the end of the second.
Wales’ 1-1 draw with the USA lasted over 104 minutes with nine added on at the end, ramping up the excitement as both teams chased a winner. There were over 100 minutes played in Netherlands’ 2-0 victory over Senegal in Group A, and even the opening game between the hosts and Ecuador exceeded 100 minutes.
This theme continued all the way to the end of the group stage, with nine minutes of added time in the second half of Brazil’s loss against Cameroon, and seven at the end of Serbia’s match against Switzerland – the two final matches of the group stage.

What is the reason for it? Former referee Pierluigi Collina explained that fans should expect these sorts of situations in Qatar.

“What we already did in Russia [2018] was to more accurately calculate the time to be compensated,” the chairman of the FIFA referees committee told ESPN.

“We told everybody to don’t be surprised if they see the fourth official raising the electronic board with a big number on it, six, seven or eight minutes.

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“If you want more active time, we need to be ready to see this kind of additional time given. Think of a match with three goals scored. A celebration normally takes one, one-and-a-half minutes, so with three goals scored, you lose five or six minutes.

“What we want to do is accurately calculate the added time at the end of each half. It can be the fourth official to do that, we were successful in Russia and we expect the same in Qatar.

“I am not talking about VAR intervention, this is something which is different and calculated by the Video Assistant Referee in a very precise way.

“Even at the time I was a referee, the info [on added time] came from the fourth official, you are too much focused on what’s going on that it’s possible not to consider something. It’s the fourth official who usually proposes the amount of added time and the referee tends to decide… and decides.”

For more on this particular issue with the added time, check out our in-depth explainer.

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To celebrate the 2022 World Cup, we have launched our new bracket game, where you can give your predictions, challenge friends and create mini-leagues.

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