Salman Al-Faraj’s penalty for Saudi Arabia in their Group A match against Egypt on Monday was the 18th of the World Cup, matching the all-time record tally set at the 2002 tournament hosted by Japan and South Korea.
In Brazil four years ago, there were only 13 penalties in the entire tournament.
The use of the video assistant referee (VAR) system has contributed hugely to the spike, and it was employed again to set up Al-Faraj for his spot kick.
Al-Faraj’s penalty was the second awarded in the match.
Saudi Arabia’s Fahad Al-Muwallad was given a penalty after a foul in the box in the 39th minute but his effort was saved by the keeper.