Penalty Shootout
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Penalty Shootout

The penalty shootout is a method of determining a winner in sports matches that would have otherwise been drawn or tied. The rules for penalty shootouts vary between sports and even different competitions; however, the usual form is similar to penalty shots in that a single player takes one shot on goal from a specified spot, the only defender being the goalkeeper. Teams take turns, with the one with the largest number of successful goals after a specified number of attempts being the winner. If the result is still tied, the shootout usually continues on a "goal-for-goal" basis, with the teams taking shots alternately, and the one that scores a goal unmatched by the other team is declared the winner. This may continue until every player has taken a shot, after which players may take extra shots, until the tie is broken, and is also known as "sudden death".


A penalty shootout is normally used only in "no ties allowed" situations (for example, a tournament where the losers must be eliminated) and where other methods such as extra time and sudden death have failed to determine a winner first. It avoids the delays involved in staging replayed matches in order to produce a tie-break. A common complaint about penalty shootouts is that they only determine the better team in the one, rather narrow, discipline of taking penalty shots, rather than fairly determining the better team in overall play.


Sports in which a penalty shootout may be used include:


A similar concept has been adopted in a few professional baseball leagues. The Israel Baseball League (IBL), in its only season in 2007, and the Can-Am League, beginning in 2014, have both used home run derbies as tiebreakers instead of the potentially endless system of extra innings used in Major League Baseball and elsewhere. In the IBL, home run derbies took place immediately after regulation ended (after the 7th inning) while the Can-Am League does not employ the home run derby tiebreaker until after the 10th inning.[1][2]


A Super Over is sometimes used to decide a tied match. Both sides will bowl one over, in turns. Two wickets are allowed to fall on both sides, after which the team is not allowed to bat any more. The team who scores the most runs in their over is declared the winner. Team batting last in the original run of play bats first in super over.

Field hockey


Penalty shootouts, properly known as "kicks from the penalty mark" and a nickname of "spot kicks", are used as a tie-breaking measure in many knock-out tournaments or cup competitions where matches cannot end in a draw. If scores are level after regular time and extra-time (if used), each team will alternately take penalty kicks against the opposition goalkeeper. If, after five pairs of kicks, an equal number have been scored by each team the shootout proceeds to sudden death.


An equivalent to the shootout is in the rule books of most gridiron-style football codes, including Canadian football, college football and high school football. Immediately after regulation ends, each team is given the ball within their opponent's territory, between 10 and 25 yards away depending on the league, and begins play from scrimmage until they score or lose possession of the ball. If play is no longer tied after each team has a possession, the game is over; if it remains tied, each team gets one more possession. Unlike shootouts in other sports, all points scored in a gridiron overtime count toward the overall score in the game.

Notably, the National Football League does not use this method to settle ties, instead using the golden touchdown method to settling ties.


If a game is tied after regular time and a clear winner is necessary (like in knockout tournaments), it would proceed to two 5-minute periods of overtime with a 1-minute break before each. If the scores are still tied, a second overtime of 2x5 minutes is played. If the game is still tied after 2 overtimes, the game goes into a penalty shootout. Five players per side throw 7-meters-penalties, if still tied, one player per side take a penalty throw until a decision is found, which is the same procedure as in association football.

Ice hockey

If the score remains tied after an overtime period, the subsequent shootout consists of a set number of players from each team (3 in the NHL and IIHF rules and 5 in most North American minor leagues, and one in some other leagues) taking penalty shots. After these shots, the team with the most goals is awarded the victory. If the score is still tied, additional shots are played until one team scores and the other doesn't; the scoring team wins and is awarded two points in the standings, while the losing team is awarded one point. In North America, the winning team receives two points regardless of whether the win comes in regulation, overtime or the shootout, while the losing team receives no points for a regulation loss and one point for an overtime or shootout loss. In the NHL, the player scoring the shootout-winning goal is not officially credited with a goal in his personal statistics; thus, a player who scores twice in regulation and once in the shootout is not credited with a hat trick. On December 16, 2014, the Florida Panthers defeated the Washington Capitals 2-1 in the 20th round of a shootout, making it the longest shootout in NHL history.

In many European leagues a team receives three points for a regulation win and two for an overtime or shootout win, with the losing team's points awarded in the same manner as in North America. Regardless of the number of goals scored during the shootout by either team, the final score awards the winning team one more goal than the score at the end of regulation time (or overtime).

In many North American minor leagues, the player that scores the shootout-winning goal is credited with one shot on goal and one goal. The losing goaltender of the shootout is credited with one shot against, one goal against, and an overtime/shootout loss. North American professional hockey does not allow shootouts in post-season play, and instead will play multiple 20-minute sudden-death overtime periods as are needed until a team scores. The official IIHF name of the procedure is game-winning shots (GWS). In some European countries, the post-game penalty shots are unofficially known as "bullets".[3][4]

Rugby union

In rugby union, five players take kicks on goal from the centre of the 22-metre line. If the scores are level after five players from each team have kicked, the shootout goes to sudden death. This tie-breaking method was used for the first time at a professional level in Leicester Tigers' Heineken Cup semi-final victory over the Cardiff Blues on 3 May 2009; after a 26-26 draw after extra time, Leicester won the shootout 7-6.[5]

Water polo

Following a tie in regulation, 5 players and a goalkeeper are chosen by the coaches of each team. Players shoot from the 5 meter line alternately at either end of the pool in turn until all five have taken a shot. If the score is still tied, the same players shoot alternately until one team misses and the other scores. The scores from the penalty shootout are added to the score instead of being counted as a separate score as in other sports. Colleges have no such shootout procedure; teams play two straight 3-minute periods, and if still tied play multiple 3-minute golden goal periods.

Other uses

Penalty shootouts are also used on a few game shows:

  • The final round of The Weakest Link involves the remaining two contestants having to answer a series of three to five questions each (depending on the version); the player who answered the most questions correctly in the previous round has the option to choose who goes first. Whoever has the most correct answers at the end of the round is declared the winner; in the event of tie, the round goes to sudden death, where questions continue to be asked to every player until one contestant answers correctly and his or her opponent answers incorrectly.
  • The Rich List uses a penalty shootout tiebreaker where the two teams are asked questions about the same subject until one team answers correctly and the other team answers incorrectly. Whoever gives the last correct answer in the tiebreaker advances to the bonus round.

See also


  1. ^ Hyde, Dave (July 8, 2007). "Grand old game gets new twists in Israel". Sun-Sentinel. Retrieved 2015.
  2. ^ "CAN-AM LEAGUE ADOPTS INTERNATIONAL TIEBREAKER". Canadian American Association of Professional Baseball. Retrieved 2015.
  3. ^ Jeff Z. Klein, "Hockey Night in Europe: Goodbye, Columbus," New York Times, Oct. 25, 2008
  4. ^ V. Lychyk, "English borrowings in recent Soviet Russian," Papers and Studies in Contrastive Linguistics 29 (1994), p. 153.
  5. ^ "Blues 26-26 Leicester (aet)". BBC Sport. British Broadcasting Corporation. 3 May 2009. Retrieved 2009.

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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