The Silver Goal

The silver goal is a method for deciding the outcome of elimination matches (i.e. during the knockout stages of a competition). The silver goal only comes into effect if the scores are level at the end of the 90 minutes. If a goal is scored during the first 15 minutes of extra time, and that team is still in the lead at half-time, the team wins the match. If the scores are level after 15 minutes, a second period of extra-time is played.

The ruling was proposed in 2002 to replace the golden goal method, which was considered to encourage negative, highly defensive play during extra time. It was hoped that the silver goal would avoid the sudden-death situation, reduce pressure on the referee and encourage the offensive, positive play which was seen as too risky with the golden goal rule.

The silver goal was not compulsory, with football competitions able to employ the golden goal, the silver goal, or neither ruling if the game went on to extra time.

The first major competition to use the silver goal ruling was the 2003 UEFA Cup. It was also used in the Euro 2004 competition, when Greece beat their semi-final opponents, the Czech Republic, by scoring a silver goal in the final two seconds of the first period of extra time. The silver goal ruling was subsequently dropped by the International Football Association Board, and is no longer part of the Rules of the Game.