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

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We’re in the single-elimination knockout rounds of Euro 2021 and we’ve already had a fair share of matches that were deadlocked after 90 minutes.

In fact, half the matches of the Euro 2021 Round of 16 ended in ties after regulation. And so did the first quarterfinal.

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

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  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.

These are the four Euro 2021 matches that have gone into extra time, with two of them going all the way to penalty kicks:

  • Round of 16: Italy beat Austria 2-1 in extra time after the 90 minutes of regulation finished 0-0
  • Round of 16: Croatia and Spain took their 3-3 regulation tie into extra time, where Spain scored twice more to win it 5-3
  • Round of 16: France and Switzerland were tied 3-3 in regulation and after a scoreless extra time, the Swiss won on PKs 5-4
  • Round of 16: Ukraine and Sweden went into extra time tied 1-1, and it was Ukraine scoring in the 121st minute to win it 2-1
  • Quarterfinal: Switzerland and Spain took a 1-1 tie into extra time and then PKs, where the Spaniards won the shootout 3-1

Extra-time substitutes rule

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

MORE: Updated Euro 2021 tournament bracket

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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 above in-game substitution windows: 

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

What happened at Euro 2016?

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

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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 PK shootouts in that 2016 tournament’s knockout stages against Switzerland, Poland and Italy, respectively.

Extra time in Euro finals 

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

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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 in extra time was the game-winner, bringing an end to the match. The golden goal rule was removed from the Laws of the Game in 2004.

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