All Time Soccer Records: The Most Penalty Kicks In A World Cup Shootout

It may not be the best way to determine a winner...but it's definitely dramatic.

Penalty kicks. The mere utterance of the phrase sends shivers down the spines of soccer players and fans worldwide. It may not be the best way to determine a winner at the World Cup, but there’s no denying it’s the most dramatic way to break a tie.

The World Cup has seen 30 penalty kick shootouts since FIFA instituted the tie-breaking procedure in 1978. Only two of them have gone into sudden death, sharing the record for longest World Cup shootouts. 

The first came in 1982 and was the first World Cup match decided by a shootout, ending what was perhaps the wildest World Cup game ever. The semifinal between West Germany and France saw Harald Schumacher knock Patrick Battiston unconscious with a nasty collision without receiving punishment. After a 1-1 tie in regulation, France went up 3-1 in extra time only for West Germany to equalize. Both teams went 4 for 5 to start the shootout. In sudden death, Schumacher denied Maxime Bossis. West Germany’s Horst Hrubesch then converted to end the longest World Cup shootout.

It wasn’t until 1994 that another World Cup shootout went past the initial five kicks apiece. In a quarterfinal at Stanford Stadium, Sweden and Romania both scored once in regulation and once in stoppage time. The shootout that ensued saw Håkan Mild open with a miss for Sweden. But the Swedes wouldn’t miss again.

Romania made its first three kicks but Dan Petrescu missed his spot kick. In sudden death, forward Henrik Larsson converted before defender Miodrag Belodedici missed, sending Sweden to the semifinals, where they haven’t been since.

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