An Introduction to Penalty Shootouts in Soccer


Penalty Shootouts pic
Penalty Shootouts

Krishen Iyer has owned and operated a residential and commercial real estate business in Fresno, California, since 2015. He previously spent time as the owner of Iyer Health Shield, a call center providing support for health insurance and related products. Beyond his professional activities, Krishen Iyer is an avid fitness enthusiast. He works out five times per week, golfs once per week, and enjoys playing soccer and tennis.

Few occasions in the world of sports are as fraught with tension as a penalty shootout on a soccer field. While different venues and tournaments employ different rules, the majority of soccer games are comprised of two 45-minute halves followed, if necessary, by two non-sudden-death overtime periods of 15 minutes each. In league play, teams may settle for tie scores, but in tournament play, a winner must be chosen, and so the game moves into the penalty shootout phase.

The shootout begins with each team selecting five players who alternate shots on the goal until one team can no longer tie the score. For example, if Team A scores on all three penalty kicks and Team B misses the first three kicks, the shootout would end 3-0. Should teams run through their first five players and find themselves still with a tie score, one additional shooter is added until one team misses. Shooters cannot be repeated until an entire team, including goalkeepers, has taken a shot, at which point the same order must be repeated.

The strategy behind a penalty shootout is complex. Some coaches elect to save their best players for the last few shots, assuming they will be able to handle the pressure of the moment. Unfortunately, a poor start to the shootout may render these players’ talents completely irrelevant.