Is There Extra Time At The World Cup?

soccer extra time

In the World Cup, matches in the knockout round may require extra time to decide a winner if a match is tied after the 90-minute regulation time is up. On the other hand, matches in the group stage are allowed to end in a draw. Read on to learn when extra time is used in the World Cup and its format.


What is the Format of Extra Time?

When extra time is required in a soccer match, it will usually follow the traditional format of two additional 15-minute halves. Sometimes, extra time is played in the “Golden Goal” format, where the first team to score a goal wins the match. In traditional extra time, the 30 minutes is played out in its entirety. This traditional version of extra time is what is currently used at the World Cup. In both cases, if the game is still tied after the 30-minute extra time, a penalty shootout is used.

Extra Time in the Group Stage?

fifa the group stage

The first part of the World Cup is known as the Group Stage. In this stage, teams are in eight groups of four, and they play three matches total, one against each of the other three teams in their group. Teams are awarded three points for a win, one for a tie, and zero for a loss, and the team with the most points after the group stage wins the group. Thus, since there can be ties in the group stage, there is no extra time in these matches.

Extra Time in the Knockout Stage?

fifa knockout stages

At the conclusion of the group stage, sixteen teams advance to the knockout round. The eight group winners, as well as the eight teams that finish second in their group, advance to the knockouts. Since this is a single-elimination style tournament where a winner must be determined, extra time is required when teams are tied after regulation time. Extra time is played in a traditional format, meaning that two extra 15-minute halves are played out regardless of any goals scored. If the two teams are still tied after 120 minutes, a penalty shootout is used to see who advances. If a match requires a penalty shootout, it technically goes down as a tie, and the penalties are used just to see who advances in the tournament. 

This extra time format was used at every World Cup knockout stage from 1930-1994. In the 1998 and 2002 editions, the aforementioned “Golden Goal” rule was used before FIFA returned to the traditional format in 2006. As for penalty shootouts, they were not introduced to the World Cup until the 1978 edition. Prior to 1978, if matches were tied after extra time, the match was replayed at a later date. Overall, 66 World Cup matches have gone to extra time since the first tournament in 1930. Of those 66 matches, 30 have needed a penalty shootout to decide the winner. Seven World Cup finals have gone to extra time, with both the 1994 and 2006 matches being decided by penalties. In 1994, Brazil defeated Italy, and in 2006, Italy beat France.