The rise and fall of the Golden Goal - Tale of Two Halves (2023)

The 1990 World Cup was regarded as one of the worst in the tournament’s history, with negative tactics and spiteful fouling aplenty. Half of the 16 knockout round matches required extra time, with four of those eight going to penalty shoot-outs. While the additional 30 minutes in England’s 3-2 win over Cameroon were compelling, the other extra time periods were pedestrian at best. Football’s rulemakers sought to implement a way to make extra time more exciting and less defensive-minded and, in 1993, a new concept was introduced. The golden goal stipulated that the first team to score in extra time would immediately win the match and its name was chosen carefully, with FIFA rejecting ‘sudden death’ because of its negative connotations. The idea was that introducing a ‘next goal wins’ rule, a throwback to twilight football games played as kids when their parents were desperate to get them indoors for the night, would encourage teams to take a more offensive approach during extra time.

While the golden goal seemed a revolutionary concept, it had a couple of precursors. A ruling of the same idea but a different name was used in the final of the Cromwell Cup in Sheffield all of 150 years ago, with The Wednesday winning by virtue of this method. Just over a century later, the idea was used in some North American leagues, but it never reached Europe or South America. That was until FIFA formally introduced it in 1993, although it was done on a soft launch basis with no obligation on any competition organiser to use it if that was their wish.

As with more recent developments such as goal-line technology and VAR, FIFA used its second-tier tournaments in which to trial the golden goal rule. The guinea pig for the concept was the 1993 World Youth Championship in Australia and the host nation would have the honour of scoring the first golden goal in a FIFA competition. Anthony Carbone was the history maker, scoring nine minutes into extra time to settle their quarter-final against Uruguay in Brisbane. It was the only golden goal in the tournament and FIFA decided not to introduce it to the following year’s senior World Cup in the United States.

The first noteworthy golden goal in a club match was scored in 1995, although The Football League followed FIFA’s lead in testing it out in a perceived ‘lesser’ competition. The much-derided Football League Trophy, then known as the Auto Windscreens Shield for sponsorship reasons, was won by Birmingham against Carlisle at Wembley and it was Paul Tait whose strike instantly won the competition for the Blues.

UEFA introduced the golden goal for the 1996 European Championships and, with two quarter-finals and both semi-finals finishing level after 90 minutes, opportunities for a moment of tournament history were abundant. However, all four of those contests ended up being settled by penalties, so Euro 96 looked set to finish without a golden goal being scored. Instead, that was exactly how the first 16-team staging of the competition would conclude. Five minutes into extra time, German striker Oliver Bierhoff turned in the penalty area and fired a shot towards goal. Czech Republic goalkeeper Petr Kouba was in a good position to stop it, only to inadvertently palm the ball behind him and backtrack hurriedly as it trickled agonisingly into the net. As Bierhoff, who had equalised for Germany in normal time, whipped off his shirt and was promptly engulfed by his jubilant team-mates, the Czechs fumed as they believed the German to have been offside when he took the shot. Their protests were futile and Bierhoff could enjoy his moment of European Championships history.

FIFA continued to try out the golden goal across several tournaments, including the 1997 Confederations Cup. In a quirky coincidence, this was the second FIFA competition in which the first golden goal was scored by an Australian player to defeat Uruguay. On this occasion, it was a young Harry Kewell who needed just two minutes of extra time to send the Socceroos into the final, where they were promptly hammered by Brazil.

A year later, golden goal was introduced to the senior World Cup in France. Four of the 16 knockout round matches required extra time but only one of them was settled prior to penalties. Just as the first ever World Cup goal was scored by a Frenchman with Laurent in his name (Lucien Laurent in 1930), so too would the tournament’s first golden goal. Paraguay were six minutes away from taking the hosts to penalties when Laurent Blanc popped up with a historic strike to take Les Bleus into the quarter-finals. The talismanic defender would miss the final through suspension but he could watch on gleefully as his team-mates defeated Brazil to win France their first world title.

UEFA kept the rule in place for Euro 2000, and while none of the quarter-finals required extra time, both semi-finals did. In the first of those, France and Portugal were level at 1-1 and drawing closer to a penalty shoot-out when Abel Xavier was adjudged to have handled the ball in the box and a spot kick was given. The Portuguese protested vehemently and the peroxide-haired defender was sent off. Amidst the chaos, Zinedine Zidane coolly slotted the penalty to send France into the final. For the second European Championships in a row, the champion would be decided by a golden goal and, just as in 1996, the eventual winners came from behind in the final. Italy had been moments from victory when Sylvain Wiltord struck to send the game into extra time, during which David Trezeguet netted in the 103rd minute to add the European title to his nation’s World Cup crown.

UEFA also had the golden goal rule in effect for its club tournaments, but extra time was something of a rarity in two-legged knockout ties where the away goals rule applied. No Champions League match was ever settled by a golden goal; indeed, only one of the six finals for which the rule was in place ended up going to extra time and penalties. The 2000/01 European club season was bookended by golden goal winners to decide trophies, however. Galatasaray won the Super Cup by this method against Real Madrid, Mario Jardel the hero for the Turkish side. Nine months later, a remarkable UEFA Cup final between Liverpool and Alaves ended abruptly in the 116th minute when Delfi Geli unluckily diverted a header into his own net to give Liverpool their third triumph in the competition. It wasn’t as if the match in Dortmund lacked for drama already, with the teams level at 4-4 at the end of 90 minutes.

Five knockout round matches at the 2002 World Cup went to extra time and only two of those finished with a penalty shoot-out (coincidentally, both featured Spain). Senegal became just the second African team to reach a World Cup quarter-final and it was thanks to a golden goal from Henri Camara, who had already netted in normal time against Sweden. Two days later, a tournament rife with shock results had another added to the list when South Korea’s Ahn Jung-hwan scored a headed winner against Italy, for whom a golden goal put pay to their hopes for a second major tournament in a row. Ironically, Ahn had been playing his club football in Italy at the time with Perugia, whose eccentric owner Luciano Gaucci saw fit to cancel the Korean striker’s contract. The last World Cup golden goal was scored by Turkey’s Ilhan Mansiz, who netted four minutes into extra time in the quarter-finals against Senegal, who had now been stung by the same ruling from which they benefitted in the previous round.

While that trio of golden goals may have seemed like a justification of the ruling, the method was not popular among football fans. An idea which has been concocted with the intention of encouraging attacking play often ended up having the opposite effect, with the reward of scoring a golden goal regularly eclipsed by the fear of conceding one. 2003 was the last year in which the ruling was frequently in place, although it did settle two tournaments that year. Germany’s Nia Kunzer won the World Cup for her country with her goal in the final against Sweden, while France kept up their good fortune with the golden goal ruling to lift the Confederations Cup, Thierry Henry scoring against Cameroon in the tournament decider. Even that goal, though, was not one to be celebrated as, three days previously, Cameroon midfielder Marc-Vivien Foe collapsed on the pitch during their semi-final win over Colombia and later died. Henry and his French team-mates marked the goal by pointing skyward in recognition of a player alongside whom several of them played at club level.

The golden goal also gave rise to one of the most bizarre episodes in football history in 1994 in the otherwise nondescript Caribbean Cup. A qualifying match between Barbados and Grenada ended in farce when, with the former 2-1 up and needing to win by a two-goal margin to qualify, they deliberately scored an own goal to take the contest into extra time. The reason for this seemingly inexplicable act? Extra time golden goals counted double, so when they struck again in extra time, they technically won 4-2 and progressed to the next round. In the three-minute spell between the Barbados own goal and the end of normal time, we had the unique scenario of Grenada trying to score into either net, only to be met by Barbadian walls in both six-yard boxes. If CONCACAF had been trying to raise the profile of the tournament, they did it in a rather roundabout fashion, with this strangest of matches attracting global attention. The organisation had been ridiculed for their implementation of the golden goal ruling, though, and it was to nobody’s surprise that this format was never used again in the Caribbean Cup.

UEFA introduced a variation on a theme in 2002 when implementing the ‘silver goal’ ruling into its club competitions. This stated that a goal scored in extra time would not immediately end the game, but if it was scored in the first half of extra time and no further goals were scored, the match would end at half-time. There were only two notable instances of the silver goal taking effect. One was in the qualifying rounds for the 2003/04 Champions League when Ajax defender Tomas Galasek scored a 103rd-minute penalty against Graz AK. At half-time in extra time, with the Dutch side 2-1 ahead, the match ended and Ajax progressed to the group stage.

At Euro 2004, two quarter-finals went through extra time and penalties before the second semi-final between Greece and Czech Republic saw extra time necessitated. Right at the end of the first half of extra time, Greece won a corner from which Traianos Dellas headed to the net. It might not have been a golden goal in name but it was in practicality, as the referee blew for half-time (and, by proxy, full-time). In an ironic twist, Galasek was a member of the Czech side who suffered at the brunt of what proved to be Dellas’ solitary international goal across 53 caps.

If the golden goal was unloved, the silver goal was downright detested. It only encouraged teams to be even more cautious in extra time and was undemocratic in its nature as a goal scored in the first or last minute of the first half of extra time would count the same but have far graver consequences for the team conceding it. Had Dellas scored in the 91st rather than the 105th minute, Czech Republic would have had just under 15 minutes to find an equaliser. As it transpired, they never even got the chance to restart.

Following Euro 2004, the sport’s law-makers IFAB concluded that the old method of extra time whereby 30 minutes would be played irrespective of how many goals were scored, or when, was probably the best. An additional half-hour might not be everyone’s cup of tea, especially after drab 0-0 draws where neither team is likely to find a sudden urge to go all-out in pursuit of a goal. The Football League has helpfully removed extra time from Carabao Cup matches this season, with games level after 90 minutes going straight to penalties.

The golden goal was a good idea in theory and was worth a go, but once it became evident that it caused more teams to play cautiously than adventurously, IFAB were left with little choice but to abandon the idea after roughly a decade. The golden goal was far from popular, but it has defined the careers of players such as Tait, Bierhoff, Trezeguet, Camara, Mansiz and (though he surely wishes otherwise) Geli.


Why was golden goal dropped? ›

They were going to penalties because teams weren't playing to win in extra time, but not to lose. They thought that introducing the golden goal rule would encourage teams to attack. In fact, it had the opposite effect. Teams saw the cost of conceding mor...

When did they get rid of the golden goal? ›

The golden goal was used in the FIFA World Cup for the last time in 2002, when Turkey defeated Senegal in the quarter-finals when İlhan Mansız scored what would be the final golden goal in male tournaments.

Does golden goal still exist? ›

In the end, the demise of the Golden Goal always seemed inevitable, and after the futile attempt with the Silver Goal in 2004, both were put to bed for good, and the traditional full 30 minutes of extra-time, comprised of two 15-minute halves, was restored in the 2006 World Cup.

Why did they take the goal back? ›

Finally, in 1974, the league pushed the goal posts back to the end line. The change was made mostly to encourage offenses to score touchdowns rather than field goals. The three-pointer had become an increasingly common occurrence by 1973.

Why was first goal cancelled? ›

Why was the goal offside? The opening goal was ruled out after Pervis Estupinan swung a free-kick into the box. Michael Estrada's right boot was offside after the ball came off Felix Torres, who was challenging Qatar goalkeeper Saad Al Sheeb.

What is the meaning of golden goal? ›

noun. soccer (in certain matches) the first goal scored in extra time, which wins the match for the side scoring it.

Who was the first to score a golden goal? ›

Who scored the first ever golden goal? German striker Oliver Bierhoff became the first man to net a golden goal in major tournaments as he netted the winning strike against the Czech Republic in the Euro 1996 final at Wembley.

How long did golden goal last in football? ›

It hasn't always been that way though with matches at the World Cup having previously been decided due to the golden goal rule. The ruling was used at the 1998 and 2002 tournaments in both France and Japan & South Korea before eventually being abolished.

What is the longest golden goal in football history? ›

They continued playing according to the "Play to Win" rule to achieve a golden goal. Les Cocker, a striker for the Stockport team, scored the winning goal in the 173rd minute.

Is extra time sudden death? ›

Extra time, which is essentially overtime in soccer, consists of two 15-minute halves, and teams play both full halves even if one team scores -- there is no "Golden Goal" or "sudden death" rule.

Is the World Cup trophy real gold? ›

Officially, the World Cup trophy is described as 'solid' gold. It is 36.5cm tall and is made of 6.175kg or 30,875 Carats of 18 karat (75%) gold. It has a base of 13cm in diameter which features two strips of malachite. As for the stolen Jules Rimet trophy, that was made of gold-plated sterling silver.

Why did fans tear down goal posts? ›

18, 1876. On that date, Harvard played Yale and, according to newspaper accounts, “Yale rooters tore down the goal posts so that Harvard should not be able to kick a goal.” Whether that was the start of the ritual is hard to say, but there is no doubt that soon a 100-years tradition was born.

Why did they stop away goals? ›

The away goal rule in the Champions League was abolished on June 24, 2021. Why was away goal rule removed? The away goal rule in the Champions League was removed after UEFA felt it was inappropriate 'for an away goal to carry more weight than one scored at home.

Why was the USA goal disallowed? ›

With the puck in the crease, the American forward jammed at Milic's pads, knocking the puck just enough over the goal line. However, once again Williams challenged the play and after review, the goal was disallowed for goalie interference.

Was the Ecuador goal really offside? ›

After a check using VAR and the Semi-automatic offside technology, the goal was ruled out as Estrada was seen influencing with the follow of play from the free-kick. As a result, the goal was ruled out. Has such a case happened before, in a high-voltage match? Yes.

What happened to the second US goal? ›

The goal was negated almost immediately, as the assistant referee put up his flag to signal Weah was offside.

Who was the first team to lose on away goals? ›

Who was the first team to lose out on away goals? In the 1965/66 Cup Winners' Cup second round, Dukla Prague, now named FK Pribram, lost out to Budapest Honved on away goals after a 4-4 draw on aggregate.

What is sudden death in football? ›

nounSports. an overtime period in which a tied contest is won and play is stopped immediately after one of the contestants scores, as in football, or goes ahead, as in golf.

How long can extra time go on for? ›

Extra time is 30 minutes, divided into two halves of 15 minutes each and is commonly used only during knockout matches. If the teams are still level after the extra time, a penalty shootout is taken. Five rounds of penalty kicks are taken alternatively by each team.

How do you get a golden goal? ›

The golden goal refers to a goal scored by a soccer team during overtime. The overtime minutes in a tied soccer game are similar to “sudden death.” The game ends in overtime with the first score, and the team that makes the point has made the golden goal.

What is the silver goal rule? ›

silver goal in British English

noun. soccer. (in certain competitions) a goal scored in a full half of extra time that is played if a match is drawn. This goal counts as the winner if it is the only goal scored in the full half or full period of extra time.

What happens if penalties are tied? ›

If the score remains tied after an overtime period, the subsequent shootout consists of a set number of players from each team (3 in the NHL and IIHF rules and 5 in most North American minor leagues, and one in some other leagues) taking penalty shots.

How many years did the oldest player have to score a goal? ›

1. Roger Milla (Cameroon) - 42 years and 39 days vs Russia in FIFA World Cup 1994. Cameroon legend Roger Milla holds the record of being the oldest footballer to score a goal in the men's FIFA World Cup, having netted against Russia in the 1994 World Cup in the USA at the ripe old age of 42 years and 39 days.

Has a football game ever gone over 100? ›

Yes, there has been a 100-point NFL game in league history, and that game was played as far back as 1966. The game was between the Washington Redskins and New York Giants, and the final score was 72-41 in favor of Washington.

What is the longest a football game can last? ›

Nowadays, a normal professional football match will last for 90 minutes and in some cases, such as a knockout tournament fixture, a game could go on for 120 minutes - but no more than that.

What football game had the longest overtime? ›

The NFL's longest ever game: Dolphins vs Chiefs in 1971

On that occasion, the two sides had to go to double overtime and they recorded the longest ever NFL game time of 82 minutes and 40 seconds. A back-and-forth second half meant that the game finished 24-24, requiring overtime to determine a winner.

Who has scored the most free kicks in football history? ›

Top 10 footballers with most freekick goals in history
  1. Juninho – 77. It is still a surprise for many fans to read this name.
  2. Pele – 70. The God of football. ...
  3. Ronaldinho – 66. Ronaldinho is one of the best players in Brazil's history. ...
  4. David Beckham – 65. ...
  5. Diego Maradona – 62. ...
  6. Zico – 62. ...
  7. Lionel Messi – 62. ...
  8. Ronald Koeman – 60. ...
Mar 25, 2023

Who has the fastest goal in football history? ›

The fastest goal in the history of football is widely thought to be Gavin Stokes' strike for Maryhill against Clydebank after 2.1 seconds. The goal came straight from the kick-off in the non-league West of Scotland Super League First Division in 2017.

Who scored 1,000 goals in football history? ›

Pele. One of the greatest ever and a three-time World Cup winner. Pele scored nearly a goal-per-game during his 656 competitive games for Santos, though claims to have scored more than 1,000 times in his career.

Can the Super Bowl end in a tie? ›

Unlike regular season games, postseason games cannot end in a tie, so the overtime rules change slightly for the playoffs. If the score is still tied at the end of an overtime period — or if the second team's initial possession has not ended — the teams will play another overtime period.

Can an NFL game end in a tie? ›

If the score remains tied after each team has had its opportunity to possess, sudden-death play — where the game ends on any score (safety, field goal or touchdown) — continues until a winner is determined. If it's still tied after 10 minutes, the game ends in a tie.

Can the World Cup end in a tie? ›

There is no sudden death: Both periods are played to their conclusion, regardless of how many goals are scored (or not). If the teams are still tied after extra time, they go to a penalty kick shootout.

Is the World Cup 24k gold? ›

The current World Cup trophy weighs 6.175kg and measures 36.8cm high by 12.5cm wide. It is hollow and made from 18 carat gold (750 fineness). This means it contains 4,927 grams of pure gold.

How much is the World Cup gold medal worth? ›

The FIFA World Cup's trophy is made of pure 18-carat gold and it is worth around Rs 144 crore (US $20 million or £16.4 million).

What is the most expensive World Cup in history? ›

The 2022 World Cup in Qatar, which kicked off November 20, is the most expensive World Cup ever, with costs reaching $220 billion. The expenses included new stadiums, but the majority of the money was spent on new infrastructure like hotels, airports, and a metro system.

Why was America's goal disallowed? ›

Canada was called back for goalie interference. A key goal for the Americans was called back after Canada requested video review for goalie interference midway through their world junior hockey championship semifinal on Tuesday in Halifax.

Was silver goal ever used? ›

The 2003 UEFA Cup final, which saw Porto beat Celtic 3-2 after extra time, was the first significant match to use the Silver Goal rule.

Why goal is cancelled in football? ›

If a player or team official is illegally on the field of play when that person's team scores a goal, the goal is disallowed, with a direct free kick being awarded to the opposing side.

Why is soccer not popular in the US? ›

There are all sorts of reasons people will cite for soccer's failure to fully take off in the US: the lack-lustre performance of men's national team, TV rights limitations, the superiority of the women's national team, Major League Soccer (MLS) or even Jurgen Klinsmann.

Was the US second goal offside? ›

The goal was negated almost immediately, as the assistant referee put up his flag to signal Weah was offside.

Why was second USA goal taken away? ›

With the puck in the crease, the American forward jammed at Milic's pads, knocking the puck just enough over the goal line. However, once again Williams challenged the play and after review, the goal was disallowed for goalie interference.

What is 5 goals in football called? ›

In soccer, scoring five goals in a single game by one player is known as a “haul” or a “glut”. This remarkable achievement reflects exceptional skill and prowess on the pitch. However, it's quite rare and typically highlights a standout performance in a match. Table of Content show.

Has the NFL ever stopped a game? ›

Has the NFL ever canceled games in the past? Yes, the NFL has canceled games in the past. Labor strikes led the NFL to play only nine games in 1982, writes Joe Horrigan in "NFL Century: The One-Hundred-Year Rise of America's Greatest Sports League."

Why do away goals not count anymore? ›

The away goal rule in the Champions League was abolished on June 24, 2021. Why was away goal rule removed? The away goal rule in the Champions League was removed after UEFA felt it was inappropriate 'for an away goal to carry more weight than one scored at home. '

Has there ever been a football game with a score over 100? ›

Played on December 22, 1963, the game took place in the American Football League (AFL), but it was absorbed into official NFL records after the NFL–AFL merger. The Oakland Raiders defeated the Houston Oilers 52–49, combining for a total of 101 points. It was Oakland's eighth win in a row.

Who has the most powerful shot in football history? ›

The player with the title of fastest shot in football history is Ronny Heberson at 130.5 mph. Ronny Heberson, a defender, was playing for Sporting CP in a league game against Associacao Naval de Maio when he rifled in a ferocious free kick from the edge of the area.

Who scored the longest free kick in football? ›

Zelarayán scored from 56 yards out as Columbus Crew played out a 2-2 draw with Charlotte in the penultimate round of the regular MLS season. In the 36th minute, Zelarayán was fouled just inside the Crew's half, and he stepped up to take the free-kick, before spotting goalkeeper Kristijan Kahlina way off his line.


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