Golden goal is a football term used to describe a goal scored during extra time, which ends the game. It was introduced in 1992 to replace sudden death, but is no longer used by FIFA due to conservative play. The silver goal method was also introduced but later discarded. Now, two 15-minute halves are played, followed by penalty shootouts if necessary.
Golden goal refers to a goal scored by a football team during extra time. Overtime minutes in a tied football game is similar to “sudden death.” The match ends in overtime with the first score, and the team that scores has scored the golden goal.
This term was first used in 1992 to replace the more negative term “sudden death”. However, this way of breaking a tie is no longer used by the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), which is the main governing body for professional football matches. FIFA has used the golden goal method for about ten years.
Many feel that the golden goal rule was unsuccessful because teams often played conservatively and defensively. If a game-ending goal was not scored during extra time, the teams settled the tie in a penalty shoot-out. This was the favorite of many players, and often both teams wished to see a tied game settled in this way.
Those who had established the sudden death idea thought the renamed golden goal would produce dramatic action in games going into overtime. Instead it tended to produce much less dramatic action due to the conservative way the teams played.
There are some exceptions. Some European Football Championships have had a winning outcome determined using this method. In 1996 Germany beat the Czech Republic with a golden goal. Also, in 2000, France beat Italy by one to decide the European soccer championship.
However, due to dissatisfaction with this tie-breaker method, the silver target tie-breaker method was introduced. In this overtime strategy, teams are given an extra 15-minute period, and the team that scores the most at the end of that period will win the match. This method was also discarded after a few years.
Now neither golden goal nor silver goal decides ties. Instead, teams have two 15-minute halves after a tied game ends in the 90th minute. The team with the most points at the end of the two halves wins the games. Penalty shootouts decide a game which remains tied after the two halves have been played.