What is a golden goal in soccer?
The golden goal is a goal that is made during a sudden death situation, resulting in a team winning the soccer match. It is also a sudden-death format common across many sports that states that the first team to score a goal in extra time is the winner.
World Cup Golden Goal Rule
Until 2003, the “golden goal rule” was used for European championships as well as several editions of the FIFA World Cup. If the golden goal rule was in effect, the match ended as soon as one team scored an additional goal during the extra period.
The golden goal was first implemented in youth fixtures as an experiment before mandating the rule in top-level competitions. One key moment in which the golden goal broke a tie in these competitions was in the 2000 Euro when France beat Italy in the final and won the cup with a Golden Goal.
The golden goal rule is no longer used in professional play, so teams now play out both 15-minute periods of extra time even if one team scores first during that time.
Removing the Golden Goal Rule
The use of the rule raised concerns over over-defensive playing and unnecessary extra periods. Thus, the golden goal rule was removed for most major international competitions following the 2002 FIFA World Cup. However, some argue that the golden rule should be reinstated in the form of penalty kicks if there is a tie at the end of regulation time.
Silver Goal Rule
The silver goal rule was another short-lived FIFA experiment in breaking ties. Following the termination of the golden goal in 2003, the silver goal was used in place from 2003-2004. Similar to the golden goal rule, teams would play two 7:30 halves of overtime. However, a team scoring a goal in overtime would not immediately be deemed the winner of the match. Instead, the other team would have the opportunity to equalize up until the end of the overtime half.
For example, if a team scored the first tie-breaking goal in the seventh minute of overtime, the other team would have 30 seconds of play to equalize. If the losing team did not equalize or score more goals, the original scoring team would win the match. This concept was scrapped in 2004 due to the complexity of the rules and its failure to fix the problems that the golden goal rule created.