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Euro 2021: What happens if teams are tied? Extra time, penalty kicks, substitution rules


We’re in the single-elimination knockout rounds of Euro 2021 and if recent editions of the tournament are any indication, we’ll have a share of matches that will remain deadlocked after 90 minutes.

The official tournament rules for the European Championship (page 20) outline what happens after 90 minutes of regulation in the case the score is still tied:

  1. Extra time: Two 15-minute periods of extra time played in their entirety;
  2. Penalty kicks: If there is still no winner after extra time, a penalty-kick shootout will be used to determine a winner.

Extra-time substitutes

Each team is permitted five substitutions in every match of the competition and a sixth substitution to be used exclusively during extra time.

These subs must occur during a maximum of three in-game substitution windows if the match ends in regulation, or four in-game substitution windows if the game goes to extra time.

Teams can also make substitutions at the close of the various periods, which will not count against the in-game substitution windows: 

  • Halftime of regulation
  • End of regulation
  • Halftime of extra-time period

What happened in 2016?

In the last edition of the European Championships, five of 15 matches in the knockout stage needed extra time and three of those five matches went to a penalty-kick shootout.

The Euro 2016 final between Portugal and France was decided by a 109th-minute extra-time goal by Portugal’s Eder.

Poland (Round of 16), Portugal (quarterfinals) and Germany (quarterfinals) won the shootouts in that tournament’s knockout stages against Switzerland, Poland and Italy, respectively.

Six of the 15 all-time European Championship finals have been decided in extra time, with only one ending in a penalty-kick shootout: Czechoslovakia took the crown over West Germany in 1976.

The 1996 and 2000 Euro finals were decided by a sudden-death “golden goal” in extra time. Back then, the rules determined that the first goal scored n extra time was the game-winner, bringing an end to the match. The golden goal rule has since been repealed.

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