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The golden goal or golden point is a rule used in association football, bandy, lacrosse, field hockey, ice hockey and korfball to decide the winner of a match (typically a knock-out match) in which scores are equal at the end of normal time. It is a type of sudden death. Under this rule, the team that scores the first goal or point during extra time is the winner. The game ends when a golden goal is scored. Introduced formally in 1992, though with some history before that, the rule ceased to apply to most FIFA authorized football games in 2004. The similar silver goal supplemented the golden goal between 2002 and 2004.
The golden goal is still used in the Beach Soccer World Cup, in NCAA matches and in FIH sanctioned field hockey games, as well as in FIRS sanctioned roller hockey games. A related concept is used in National Rugby League games. A similar golden goal rule is also used in all National Hockey League (NHL) overtime games (followed by a shootout if needed, in the regular season and preseason), however the term "golden goal" is not used. A rule similar to the golden goal also applies in the National Football League (only if a touchdown or safety is scored first on the first possession), although again the term itself is not used.
The first recorded use of the golden goal rule was in the final of the Cromwell Cup, the world's second ever football competition, at Bramall Lane, Sheffield in 1868, although the term golden goal was not used. The deciding goal was scored by the then newly formed team called The Wednesday, now known as Sheffield Wednesday. The golden goal was introduced due to perceived failings of other means of resolving a draw (tie) in round-robin or knock-out tournaments where a winner is required. In particular, extra time periods can be tense and unentertaining as sides are too tired and nervous to attack, preferring to defend and play for penalties; whilst penalty shootouts are often described as based upon luck, and unrepresentative of football. FIFA introduced the golden goal rule in 1993. It was hoped that the golden goal would produce more attacking play during extra time, and would reduce the number of penalty shootouts.
International field hockey tournaments such as the Hockey World Cup and Champions Trophy had used golden goals to decide the winners of elimination matches. During these matches, two extra periods of 7½ minutes each were played, and if no golden goals were scored after both periods of extra time, a penalty stroke competition decided the game. FIH, the sport's governing body, did away with the overtime procedure in 2013, and now teams go directly to the shootout.
The golden goal rule comes into use at the end of regulation of every regular-season National Hockey League game where the score is tied. Five minutes of four-on-four sudden-death overtime are played, with the first goal winning the game. If, however, neither team scores after this period, a shootout determines the winner.
There is no shootout during the NHL playoff games, as multiple 20-minute OT periods of five-on-five hockey are played until one of the teams scores, which wins them the game (this has created extremely long contests such as the "Easter Epic"). The term "golden goal" is not a commonly used term in hockey, rather it is known as an "overtime winner" or "overtime goal".
The Winter Olympics ice hockey tournament uses the golden goal rule only in the gold/bronze medal games, with a full 20 minutes of overtime. The game ends if a goal is scored; however, if no goals are scored, a penalty shootout will determine the winner. This method was used to determine the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics men's final, where Sidney Crosby scored the game-winning goal 7:40 into overtime. As that goal won Canada the Gold Medal, it has become known as "The Golden Goal". Another happened at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics women's final, as Marie-Philip Poulin scored at 8:10 of overtime for Canada. In both instances, the team they defeated was the United States.
The National Football League introduced sudden death during the regular season in the NFL in 1974 and had always had it in its playoffs. Like the NHL, the NFL's rule comes into use at the end of regulation of any regular season game. Until 2011, it applied for playoff games as well. A new "quarter" is started, with a kickoff. Whichever team scores first—either through a field goal or through a touchdown, or far more rarely a safety—wins the game and the game ends. In the preseason and regular season, teams are given a "fifth quarter" of fifteen minutes to decide the game. Originally if neither team scored after 15 minutes the game ended in a tie. Since the 2012 season, each team gets one possession to score, unless one of them scores a touchdown or safety on its first possession. Sudden death rules apply if both teams have had their initial possession and the game remains tied. If after the OT period it remains tied during that time, the game still ends.
Because this presents a significant advantage to the team winning the coin toss to decide who receives the first overtime possession, the NFL moved in 2011 to require that if both teams have not had possession of the ball prior to the first score, then the team who does have possession must score a touchdown to end the game, preventing the team winning the coin toss from making a much shorter drive down the field and kicking a "golden goal" without the other team having a chance to touch the ball. Making the longer drive downfield and scoring a touchdown still ends the game immediately. This applied first in the postseason and later was adopted in the 2012 season. During the postseason, multiple 15-minute overtime "quarters" can be played until either team scores. The record for a number of overtimes in a professional football game is three, when on June 30, 1984, the Los Angeles Express defeated the Michigan Panthers, 27–21, in the 1984 USFL playoffs.
The NFL is the only American football league that currently uses the golden goal. Most levels of football, including high school, college, most indoor leagues, and Canadian football, use a system known as the "Kansas Playoff" that more closely resembles baseball innings. Some professional leagues, such as the modern United Football League, use a system that guarantees each team has a possession before switching to sudden death.
A "Golden point" system, whereby a rugby league game whose 80 minutes have ended in a draw is decided by whichever team scores the first point (by whatever means) during a period of extra time is the winner. It was first used in 1997's Super League Tri-Series.
The term golden goal was introduced by FIFA in 1993 along with the rule change because the alternative term, "sudden death", was perceived to have negative connotations. Following a draw, two fifteen-minute periods of extra time are played. If any team scores a goal during extra time, that team becomes the winner and the game ends at once. The winning goal is known as the "golden goal." If there have been no goals scored after both periods of extra time, a penalty shootout decides the game. The golden goal was not compulsory, and individual competitions using extra time could choose whether to apply it during extra time. The first European Football Championship played with the rule was in 1996; the first World Cup played with the rule was in 1998.
The first golden goal recorded was in March 1993 by Australia against Uruguay in a quarter-final match at the FIFA World Youth Championships. Huddersfield Town's Iain Dunn became the first British player to settle a match in this way—his 107th-minute goal beat Lincoln City, 3–2, in the Auto Windscreens Shield on 30 November 1994. The first major tournament final to be decided by such a goal was the 1995 Auto Windscreens Shield Final where Birmingham beat Carlisle United, 1–0, with a goal from Paul Tait, followed by the 1996 European Football Championship, won by Germany over the Czech Republic. The golden goal in this final was scored by Oliver Bierhoff. The first golden goal in World Cup history took place in 1998, as Laurent Blanc scored to enable France to defeat Paraguay in the Round of 16.
In a qualification game for the 1994 Caribbean Cup, Barbados deliberately scored a late own goal in a successful attempt to qualify for the finals by forcing golden-goal extra time against Grenada, as an unusual tournament rule stated that golden goals counted double in calculating goal difference. Needing a two-goal victory to qualify, Barbados found themselves 2–1 up with three minutes left of normal time. After the Barbadians scored an own goal to bring the scoreline level at 2–2, Grenada tried to score in either net while Barbados defended both goals for the final three minutes of normal time. Barbados won the game in extra time and advanced to the next round.
In 2000, France defeated Italy in extra time in the UEFA Euro 2000 Final when David Trezeguet scored a golden goal, thus France become the first holder of both FIFA World Cup and Euro in history since West Germany in 1974.
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 the 2002 season UEFA introduced a new rule, the silver goal, to decide a competitive match. In extra time the team leading after the first fifteen minute half would win, but the game would no longer stop the instant a team scored. Competitions that operated extra time would be able to decide whether to use the golden goal, the silver goal, or neither procedure during extra time.
On 27 August 2003, Dutch club Ajax qualified for the group stage of the UEFA Champions League by virtue of the silver goal against Austrian club GAK after the two legs finished 1–1 each after 90 minutes. In extra time, Ajax was able to take advantage of GAK having two players sent off when Tomáš Galásek scored on a penalty in the 103rd minute.
Less than a year later on 1 July 2004, Galásek would be on the field when the silver goal was featured in the only major competitive match to be decided by a silver goal: that of the semi-final match at Euro 2004 between Greece and the Czech Republic. However, the silver goal would eliminate the Czech Republic as Traianos Dellas scored for Greece after a corner kick in the last two seconds of the first period of extra time.
The golden goal rule was introduced to stimulate offensive flair and to effectively reduce the number of penalty shootouts. However, it was widely thought that golden goal rules encouraged teams to play more defensively to safeguard against a loss. Teams often placed more emphasis on not conceding a goal rather than scoring a goal, and many golden-goal extra time periods remained scoreless.
In February 2004, the IFAB announced that after Euro 2004 in Portugal, both the golden goal and silver goal methods would be removed from the Laws of the Game. The 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany did not employ the golden goal in the event of a tied match during the knockout stage, but reverted to the previous rules: In the event of a tied game after the original 90 minutes, two 15-minute halves of extra time were played. Then, if a tie remained after the 30 minutes of extra time, the winner was decided by a penalty shootout.
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