Now that the World Cup has entered the knockout rounds (or stages), the tournament format changes to one more familiar to sports fans accustomed to the NFL playoffs or the NCAA Tournament. At this stage, unlike in group play, there are no ties (or draws), and only the winners advance.
If a game is tied at the end of 90 minutes and stoppage time, two 15-minute overtime periods are played. They are played in their entirety, so it’s not a sudden-death scenario.
If the game is still tied after 30 minutes of overtime, the game will be decided on penalty kicks. The teams each alternate five penalty kicks (by five different players) in a one-on-one matchup with the opponent’s goalkeeper.
After five kicks, whoever has converted the most is the winner. During the course of the five kicks, if it becomes impossible for the trailing team to catch the leader (i.e., Team A is up three penalty kicks with two to go), the penalty-kick competition is over.
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If the teams are still tied after five penalty kicks, the competition continues on a sudden death basis. The first team to convert a kick accompanied by a miss from the opponent is the winner.