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Copa América 2016: All The Rules You Need To Know

Straight to penalties, that will keep things interesting.

Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

With the Copa América Centenario just days away, they have released the official rules for the tournament. This is the first time ever that the tournament has been played on American soil.  Even though there are some changes, mostly it'll be rules of the normal Copa América.

Here they are:

Straight to penalty kicks -- except in the final

Unlike most other soccer tournaments, in Copa America, extra time is not played to break a tie at the end of regulation time in the quarterfinals and semifinals. Games that are tied after 90 minutes in the knockout round will bypass overtime and go directly to penalty kicks as a tiebreaker -- except in the tournament final. If the final is tied after regulation time, the teams will play two 15-minute extra time periods to try and determine a winner before penalty kicks. Only if the score remains tied after the extra time will the game go to penalty kicks to determine the winner and champion.

Yellow card accumulation

If a player receives two yellow cards in two separate matches through group games or the quarterfinals, they will be suspended for the following game. Yellow card accumulation will be reset after the quarterfinals and cards from the first two rounds will not carry over into the semifinals or the final.


If two or more teams are tied after group play is finished, the first tiebreaker is goal-difference (the team's goals scored minus its goals allowed). If teams' goal difference is equal, the second tiebreaker is goals scored. If teams are still tied, then head-to-head results are used to break the tie. If all that fails, lots will be drawn to determine which team(s) advance.


The 16 teams in the tournament are divided into four groups of four, with teams playing against each of the other teams in the group. The two teams in each group with the most points (teams get three points for a win, one for a draw) after the round robin portion advance to the quarterfinals, which are a single elimination (knockout) format.

The most notable change in the rules have to do with Extra Time or the lack thereof. There will be no Extra Time periods except in the final of the tournament. That brings about certain questions regarding penalty kicks that Jurgen Klinsmann and his staff will have answer. Hopefully the United States will be in a position where there is even a threat of penalties.

The USMNT kicks off the Copa América Centenario Friday Night at 9:300 et/6:30 pt against Group A foe Colombia.