England have played eleven matches which have gone to a penalty kick shootout, the popular name for the method used to determine which team advances and which is eliminated after match play has ended in a draw at the knockout stage of a tournament. The post-match shootout procedure is officially named "kicks from the penalty mark" to distinguish it from penalty kicks awarded during match play for fouls or other infringements occurring within the penalty area.
Four of England's eleven penalty kick shootout matches occurred at World Cup final tournaments, five at European Championship final tournaments, and one at the Nations League final tournament. In nine of these matches the penalty kicks contest was used as a means of determining advancement in tournament play when the score was level at the end of extra-time. The other two were used as a means of determining the overall tournament ranking when the score was level at the end of extra-time. England also had a penalty kick shootout at a minor tournament, where it was used, under peculiar tournament rules, at the end of regulation time as a means of breaking points deadlocks in the tournament table.
England faced Germany/West Germany, Portugal and Italy, in two of their eleven penalty kick shootouts and Spain, Belgium, Argentina, Colombia and Switzerland in the remaining five.
Only three of these eleven penalty kick shootouts ended in England's favour, firstly, in the European Championship 1996 quarter-final against Spain at Wembley Stadium, secondly, in the World Cup Finals 2018 round-of-sixteen match against Colombia, and thirdly, in the Nations League Finals 2019 third place play-off match against Switzerland. England have suffered eight defeats on penalty kick shootouts. Three times in World Cup final tournaments, in the 1990 semi-final against West Germany in Italy, in the 1998 round of 16 match against Argentina in France, and in the 2006 quarter-finals match against Portugal in Germany. Four times in the European Championship Finals, the 1996 semi-final when Germany eliminated England at the semi-final stage, the quarter-final against host Portugal at the 2004 tournament, then another quarter-final, against Italy, in Ukraine, in the 2012 tournament and then the Final itself in 2020, again, against Italy.
At the King Hassan II International Cup Tournament in Morocco in 1998, the penalty kick shootout was used at the end of regulation time in England's scoreless draw with Belgium although elimination from the tournament was not at stake. England managed to lose the Moroccan tournament shootout, too. Because each team played only two of the other three teams in the tournament, special rules were adopted to ensure there would be a single tournament winner. Playing extra-time was ruled out; the participating teams were two weeks away from the World Cup final tournament in France, and it was too hot in Morocco for extra-time anyway. An extra tournament point was awarded for winning a penalty kick contest in matches drawn after 90 minutes, and penalty kick goals were included in the goals for and goals against columns in the tournament table, both measures taken to break deadlocks in the team standings. But the rules for the Morocco tournament were "idiosyncratic," as one news agency put it.
An appendix to The Laws of the Game (July, 2003) entitled "Procedures to determine the winner of a match" provides that "kicks from the penalty mark" is a method "of determining the winning team where competition rules require there to be a winning team after a match has been drawn." In its Questions and Answers to the Laws of the Game (May, 2000) the International Football Association Board, the body which is in charge of the laws, specifies that "taking kicks from the penalty mark to determine the winner of a match" does not "form part of the match."
This is confusing, contradictory and highly unsatisfactory terminology, to say the least. Since the penalty kick shootout has never been regarded as part of the match, it cannot and does not determine which team wins the match or which is the winning team. Penalty kick shootouts do not play any part in determining the result of a match. When the teams are level in goals scored at the end of extra-time play, the result is recorded as a draw no matter what happens in the penalty kick shootout. Penalty kick shootout goals are scored after match play has concluded, not during match play. For that reason, penalty kick shootout goals--unlike goals scored on penalty kicks proper, which are taken during match play--are not credited in the player's goalscoring record or in the match scoreline. The penalty kick shootout actually determines not which team wins the match, but only which team advances to the next round of the tournament or, if the drawn match happens to be the final, which team wins the tournament.
It is thus technically incorrect to say, for example, that England beat Spain on penalty kicks or that England lost to Germany on penalty kicks. The technically correct usage is this: England advanced over Spain on penalty kicks or England were eliminated by Germany on penalty kicks. But the technically incorrect has become firmly embedded in everyday usage--to the point where the International Football Association Board has incorporated language reflecting it in the appendix to the laws and in its questions and answers on the laws--and purists face a losing battle on the point. Still, this website follows the conventions of international football and records as draws all matches in which the teams are level on goals at the end of regulation time or extra-time, no matter what the outcome of any penalty kicks contest that may have followed play.
In the penalty kick shootout, the eligible players take turns in attempting to put the ball past the opposing goalkeeper and into the net from the penalty spot, with players from each team alternating in taking the kicks. The referee chooses the end of the pitch at which the shootout is conducted and the team winning a coin toss conducted by the referee decides whether it will take the first or second kick. Only players on the pitch at the end of play, including goalkeepers, are eligible to take part. There is one exception to this: if a goalkeeper is unable to continue as goalkeeper through injury incurred during the shootout, he may be replaced by a named substitute provided his team has not already used the maximum number of substitutes permitted under the competition rules. Any eligible player may change places with the goalkeeper at any time during the shootout for any reason. If the teams have different numbers of players on the pitch at the end of play, the team with more players notifies the referee which player or players will not take part in the shootout so that each team has the same number of players participating in the shootout. Each team determines the order in which their players take the kicks. The referee keeps track of the players who take the kicks to ensure that all the eligible players from each team, including the goalkeepers, have taken a kick before any player takes a second kick. The provisions of the laws and the International Football Association Board decisions applying to penalty kicks proper taken during match play also apply to the post-match penalty kick shootout unless otherwise stated.
If one team is ahead at the end of five kicks for each team, that team advances in the tournament or, in the case of a final match, wins the tournament. If, before both teams have taken five kicks, one has scored more goals than the other could score even were it to complete five kicks, no more kicks are taken. If the teams are level on number of penalty kicks scored after five players from each team have taken their kicks, the penalty kick shootout becomes a sudden death affair. The remaining players take their turns until, with both teams having taken the same number of kicks, one team has scored more goals than the other. Thus, if both teams have scored four goals after five kicks each, and the sixth player for one team scores but the sixth player for the other fails to score, the team whose sixth player scored wins the shootout and advances in or wins the tournament. If no team has won the shootout after all the eligible players from each of the teams have taken a kick, the kicks rotation starts again, although the teams may change the order in which their players take the kicks for the second and subsequent go-rounds.
Penalty kick shootouts first appeared in international football at the Asian Nations Cup 1972 finals tournament, and again in the 1976 European Championship Finals in Yugoslavia, before hitting the world stage in the 1982 World Cup Finals in Spain. In earlier days elimination matches were replayed if they ended with the teams still drawn after extra-time. Replays make unpredictable demands on time; they cannot be planned for, they disrupt schedules. That was no longer acceptable in an age when a huge organisational apparatus and worldwide television coverage accompany every major international football tournament and when time is at a premium for players, officials, fans and media representatives. Television scheduling demands alone dictated some means other than the replay to resolve which team advanced in the tournament or which team won it once extra-time had failed to break the draw. One alternative for determining advancement in the tournament, the coin toss, was used on rare occasion, but it obviously had no bearing on which team was the better and was generally deemed unfair and hence unacceptable. The penalty kick shootout was adopted as the best alternative available that satisfied logistical planning needs and at the same time provided a competitive football-related method of determining tournament advancement.
More than two decades later, the penalty kick shootout remains controversial. Critics say it does not determine which is the better team, that it only tests the football skill of individual players rather than the team, that it tests only two skills, taking penalty kicks and saving them, and that it is little better than a coin toss or a lottery.
But the International Football Association Board reaffirmed the penalty kick shootout's status at its annual general meeting on 28 February 2004. It amended Law 10 and the appendix to provide that only procedures the Board has approved are permitted where competition rules require determination of a winning team after a match has been drawn, and it specified only three approved procedures: the away goals rule, which is used to determine the winner of home and away playoff series in qualifying competitions in the event the scores are equal after the second match, extra time and kicks from the penalty mark.
These amendments did away with the the sudden death extra-time goal, known as the golden goal, first used at FIFA's World Youth Championship in 1993, and its short-lived variant, the silver goal, which UEFA adopted for its competitions on 28 April 2003. Both the golden goal and silver goal rules represented efforts to reduce the number of matches going to penalty kick shootouts. But the 2004 amendments mean that extra-time will be played to its conclusion in all tournament elimination matches in which the teams are level on goals at the end of regulation time and that a penalty kick shootout will follow if the teams are still level at the end of extra-time. This change--actually a reversion to the system in force in senior level international football from World Cup 1982 to and including World Cup 1994--became effective on 1 July 2004. In senior level national team competition, the golden goal rule was first used during European Championship 1996 and last used during World Cup 2002, while the silver goal rule was used only during European Championship 2004.
Various alternatives to the penalty kick shootout have been
suggested. For example, if the match is still even at the end of
extra-time, the team winning the most corner kicks or taking the most
on-target shots on goal should advance. Or the teams should play on with
reductions in the number of players on the pitch at regular time intervals
until the match is settled through play. Another suggestion is that the
teams should hold the penalty kick shootout ahead of extra-time so that they
will know what will happen if extra-time play does not break the draw.
Finally, it has been urged that the competition rules used to break deadlocks
in the group play tables should carry over to the knockout stage and that the team with
the better group play record under those rules should advance if the teams are
drawn at the end of extra-time. In most knockout stage matches, however,
the opposing teams will have played in different groups of varying strength,
which may make this an unfair method of determining advancement. None of these alternatives appear to have a chance of adoption.