In the Euro finals, extra time was used. In 2004, the golden goal rule was eliminated from the Laws of the Game. The idea came from Italy where it is called "The Goal of Excellence" or "Il Punti Finali". Before this change, there had been calls to eliminate extra time from soccer but none succeeded.
In extra time, if the game remains tied after 90 minutes, then a penalty shoot-out will be used to determine a winner. This procedure was originally introduced in 1995 by the Federation of International Soccer (FIFA) for use in the World Cup. Previously, if no winner could be determined after 90 minutes of play, the match would go into a penalty shootout to determine a winner. The first penalty shoot-out in history took place in the 1994 World Cup final between Brazil and Argentina. Brazil won 3-1.
There have been criticisms against this rule change. Some believe that two halves of 45 minutes each is enough time to decide a match. Others argue that taking away a game's most exciting moment is not good for business. However, since its introduction, the penalty shoot-out has become more popular with fans and media. This year's Euro finals were the first tournament to use this new system instead of extra time.
FIFA replaced it with a "silver goal" regulation in 2002, and abandoned the concept completely in 2004. The golden goal rule was implemented because too many matches ended in penalties. Teams were going to penalties because they weren't competing to win extra time but rather to avoid losing.
The golden goal rule was intended to remove any motivation for coaches to change their starting XI for the last few minutes of the game. Before this rule, many managers would switch players around during the match to try and find a way to win. This changed when coaches realized that if they went back to their original lineup for the final minute of play, they had no chance of winning the game.
There are still games decided by penalties under the current rules, but not as often as before the golden goal was introduced.
The regulation, which was formally introduced in 1992 but had some history before to that, ceased to apply to most FIFA-authorized football games in 2004. The golden goal is still utilized in NCAA games, FIH sanctioned field hockey games, and FIRS sanctioned roller hockey games. It is also used in indoor soccer competitions such as the National Soccer League (Australia) Championship Series.
In addition to its use in international and national sports leagues, the term "golden goal" has become associated with other goals that are scored after a lengthy period of time has elapsed. Examples include: a goal scored by a penalty kick taker after drawing a save from their goalkeeper; or a goal scored by an individual player in overtime or in a shootout session. The latter usage may be intended as a reference to the fact that it takes a golden goal to win the game.
The first known use of the phrase "golden goal" in relation to soccer occurred in a newspaper article published on August 26, 1893. The article described how a goal scored by a player who was not identified by name, but only as "a Harvard student" was considered valid because it came during a time when no other goals were allowed in the game. No mention was made of whether or not this particular goal was eventually awarded by the referee.
Another early use of the phrase "golden goal" appeared in a newspaper article published on October 21, 1895.
The tournament organizers established a requirement that all matches had to have a winner and had chosen an odd form of the golden goal rule, which meant that the first goal scored in extra-time not only won the match, but also counted as a double. This differed from most other forms of the rule in that if the winning team already had enough goals to win the match before the end of extra-time they would advance instead of having their victory denied. If the first goal is scored during extra-time then the game continues until one side can claim a victory by scoring a second goal. This means that if the score is level after 120 minutes have been played there will be a winner and a loser despite the fact that no actual winners or losers are determined until after these games have gone to penalty shots.
The golden goal rule has been used in several other international tournaments including the Confederations Cup (2005), the King's Cup (2006) and the Arab Cup (2007). Its use is now limited to minor domestic competitions such as the Football League Trophy and FA Trophy.
Its introduction into major international tournaments caused problems for those competing. For example, Guadeloupe failed in its attempt to qualify for France 1998 using this method while Trinidad and Tobago was disqualified from Mexico 1990 because it had more than half of its goals in extra-time. However, both countries succeeded in qualifying using this method at the subsequent tournaments.