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World Cup breaks record for most penalties awarded

By June 25, 2018No Comments

Cristiano Ronaldo saw his penalty saved in Portugal’s World Cup draw with Iran – but the moment still made history.

The spot-kick was the 19th awarded in this summer’s tournament, more than in any previous staging. The 20th then followed as Karim Ansarifard scored Iran’s equaliser.

Here, Press Association Sport takes a statistical look at the tournament’s penalties and the effect of the Video Assistant Referee system.

Straight to video

World Cup breaks record for most penalties awarded PLZ Soccer
Harry Kane scores his first penalty against Panama (Adam Davy/PA)

The six World Cups since the tournament expanded to 32 teams have unsurprisingly seen the most penalties awarded, with the previous record being 18 in 2002.

There were 17 – all scored – in 1998, 15 in 2010 and 13 in 2014 as the numbers declined until VAR made its presence felt.

Many of this year’s record-breaking tally have been awarded only after consultation with the pitchside video screen, including Iran’s – Portugal’s spot-kick was given on the field and upheld after a VAR review.

There were also two penalties in the game earlier on Monday between Saudi Arabia and Egypt – veteran Egypt goalkeeper Essam Elhadary saved the first before Salman Alfaraj converted the second.

They are the third and fourth matches to feature multiple penalties – Harry Kane scored two of his three goals in England’s 6-1 win over Panama from the spot while France’s Antoine Griezmann and Australia’s Mile Jedinak netted in the same game on June 16.

Group E, featuring Brazil, Switzerland, Serbia and Costa Rica is the only group yet to see a penalty scored. Brazil’s Neymar was initially awarded one against Los Ticos – only for the decision to be overturned by VAR.

Big names falter

World Cup breaks record for most penalties awarded PLZ Soccer
Ali Beiranvand, right, denies Cristiano Ronaldo (Darko Bandic/AP)

Ronaldo joins long-time rival Lionel Messi among the five players to miss from 12 yards at this tournament.

The pair were thwarted by opposing goalkeepers Ali Beiranvand and Hannes Halldorsson respectively, with Elhadary the other keeper to save a penalty.

Two other efforts have been sent over the crossbar, by Peru’s Christian Cueva against Denmark and Iceland’s Gylfi Sigurdsson against Nigeria, to leave the current tournament two short of the record for the most successful penalties.


Kane and Jedinak have scored two penalties apiece, with the latter on target both in the 2-1 loss to France and the 1-1 draw with Denmark.

The Socceroos’ last three World Cup goals have now been Jedinak penalties after he also struck in 2014’s defeat to Holland.

Ronaldo missed the chance to join them, having scored the tournament’s first penalty in Portugal’s 3-3 draw with Spain.