The nervous tension that comes with extra time and a penalty shootout has led to some of the great World Cup moments over the years. But you’ll have to wait to experience that until the knockout stage.
When the 2022 FIFA World Cup kicks off in Qatar on November 20, it will be the start of the two-week-long group stage. Meaning that the four teams in each group (lettered A through H) will play a round-robin schedule for the right to advance to the knockout stage.
In the group stage, teams are awarded three points for a win, one point for a draw and none for a loss. The top-2 teams advance from each group, and goal differential is used as the first tiebreaker. If teams are still tied in the standings then the tiebreaker proceeds to total goals scored, points from matches involving the tied teams and goal differential involving the tied teams (the latter two used for a three-way tie). Disciplinary records and a random drawing are rare but last-resort tiebreakers.
But the round-robin setup and tiebreakers negate the need for extra time. And really, you can’t have teams potentially playing three 120-minute games in a single group stage when the point system works just fine for this early round. Besides, even some classic group stage matches have ended in a tie. The 2018 match between Portugal and Spain comes to mind.
That’s a totally different story in the knockout stages where someone needs to win to move on, though. We have extra time (two 15-minute halves) and penalties for that.
USMNT roster: Here are the 26 U.S. players heading to the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar