Skip to main content

The Golden Goals Over the Years

Antonio Martinez graduated from Montclair State University with a BA in History and a double minor in Journalism and Russian Area Sudies.

Henri Camara of Senegal takes a shot on goal that proves to be the golden goal against Sweden in a Round of 16 match at the 2002 World Cup in Oita, Japan.

Henri Camara of Senegal takes a shot on goal that proves to be the golden goal against Sweden in a Round of 16 match at the 2002 World Cup in Oita, Japan.

For many years, deciding soccer matches in extra time was long and 30 minutes of additional action can have anything happen. In 1993, a new form of sudden death came about for teams to go for the win.

This "sudden death" was the "golden goal," a method that only lasted for a decade. However, the golden goal left its mark in soccer across history. No matter the age or gender, the golden goal became the catalyst for many players for their careers, even if some never got to fulfill too much of their potential.

Boys and Girls Before Becoming Stars

Before representing Germany at two Women's World Cups, Linda Bresonik won at both UEFA under-19 Championship in 2000 and UEFA Women's Euro 2001. Bresonik helped Germany finish third at the FIFA under-19 World Cup in Canada.

It was at Edmonton's Commonwealth Stadium where Bresonik saved Germany from elimination. Germany trailed 1-0 to Japan and faced elimination until Bresonik scored three minutes in stoppage time. Then, Bresonik followed that up with the golden goal four minutes into the extra session to send Germany into the semi-final. Bresonik's next goal of the tournament came as Germany lost 4-1 to the United States.

In that match, Lindsay Tarpley scored the tying goal.

Tarpley had a year to remember to help the United States win the inaugural U-19 Women's World Cup. Tarpley scored the game-winning goal in the final on Sept 1. against Canada. That experience helped Tarpley earn Freshman of the Year honors and in the following five years won two Olympic gold medals to go with a bronze medal at the 2007 Women's World Cup.

He earned his 100th cap for the Republic of Ireland when he captained his team against Italy at Euro 2012 in Poznan, Poland. But it was at Shah Alam, Malaysia that Damien Duff starred at the 1997 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Malaysia. The Republic of Ireland recorded its best performance at this level because of Duff as he broke a 1-1 draw in extra time to eliminate Morocco.

The Republic of Ireland finished third in the tournament.

Finally, one African player amassed a resume that includes winning the English Premier League, the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Cup, an Olympic gold medal and an FA Cup. He was also a member of Arsenal's "Invincibles" in the 2003-04 season as well as a member of three World Cup squads and six Africa Cup of Nations squads.

It was at a college football stadium where Nwankwo Kanu began his stellar career. Nigeria faced Brazil in a quarter-final at the Summer Olympics at Sanford Stadium in Athens, Georgia. Nigeria trailed 3-2 late in regulation when Kanu tied the match before scoring four minutes into extra time as Nigeria eliminated Brazil from the tournament.

David's Brilliant Strike

France's redeeming golden goal

Five Years, French Glory

In five years, France won four major games via the golden goal. It was in Lens where the first golden goal came during the knockout stage of the 1998 World Cup. France and Paraguay were in a scoreless match as penalty kicks loomed. Laurent Blanc became the first player to score a golden goal at a World Cup.

Blanc's goal in Lens was one step en route to France's 1998 World Cup triumph, as was another goal in Brussels, Belgium, on June 28, 2000. That golden goal came from Zinedine Zidane, happening minutes remaining in stoppage time as France were on the attack. Portugal's Abel Xavier handled Sylvain Wiltord's shot on goal. Zidane converted the penalty to send France into the Euro 2000 final in Rotterdam, Netherlands.

There, more drama unfolded against Italy. He came on to replace Christophe Dugarry with France trailing Italy 1-0. Wiltord scored four minutes into stoppage time to force extra time. Then, having substituted for Youri Djorkaeff, David Trezeguet scored the winning goal to crown France the first reigning World Cup winners to become European champions.

Three years later, France won another title via the golden goal as the nation redeemed itself from a disastrous 2002 World Cup campaign. That final came at the 2003 Confederations Cup, but the meeting between France and Cameroon had a more solemn tone before the match. That match was overshadowed by the death of Cameroon's midfielder Marc Vivien-Foe during the African nation's match against Colombia. Following Thierry Henry's golden goal, France captain Marcel Desailly offered Cameroon's captain Rigobert Song to hoist the trophy jointly in solidarity.

Oliver Bierhoff celebrates after scoring the winning goal to give Germany Euro 1996 against the Czech Republic in London.

Oliver Bierhoff celebrates after scoring the winning goal to give Germany Euro 1996 against the Czech Republic in London.

Birgit Prinz (9) of Germany watches at Nia Künzer (4) heads in the winning goal in Germany match against Sweden in the 2003 Women's World Cup final.

Birgit Prinz (9) of Germany watches at Nia Künzer (4) heads in the winning goal in Germany match against Sweden in the 2003 Women's World Cup final.

Scroll to Continue

Germany's Golden Duo

Many was a beneficiary of the golden goal on two significant matches. One player's golden goal jumpstarted an excellent career; another player's proved to be the shining moment that jumpstarted a women's team.

In 1996, Oliver Bierhoff first gained fame for Germany at Wembley Stadium. Just four months ago, Bierhoff earned his first cap for Germany. On June 30, 1996, Bierhoff was a substitute at the Euro 1996 Final where he scored both of Germany's goals against the Czech Republic. The second goal came five minutes into extra time as Germany had achieved its first major trophy since reunification.
Over his international career, Bierhoff tallied 37 goals for Germany, including essential goals during his career. That included goal at two 1998 World Cup qualifiers in Northern Ireland and home against Albania to go with goals at both the 1998 and 2002 World Cups.

Seven years later, a Botswana-born woman emulated Bierhoff's feat to win a major tournament. Injuries derailed her international career, despite a decent club career. Her goal made women's football relevant in Germany. Before the 2003 World Cup, Nia Künzer scored in Germany's first 2003 World Cup qualifier - a 9-0 pasting against Portugal. Künzer was on a roster that fielded other stars like Birgit Prinz and Kerstin Garefrekes.

But Künzer came on in the 88th minute in the 2003 World Cup final against Sweden to replace Pia Wunderlich. In the 98th minute, Künzer headed a ball to secure Germany's first Women's World Cup. Both goals were awarded Goal of the Year in German football. Künzer became the first woman to win the award in Germany.

Turkey's goal in Osaka

Six Days in Asia

Blanc became FIFA World Cup's first golden goal scorer in 1998. Four years later, three players joined Blanc for that historic feat.

The first golden goal came June 16, 2002, in Oita, Japan. Despite missing four key players due to injuries, Senegal got two goals from Henri Camara. Having last scored previously six months earlier, Camara tied the match in the first half before scoring the winning goal off a backheel to eliminate Sweden with a 2-1 victory. On June 22, Senegal faced Turkey in Osaka, Japan, as the match was scoreless in regulation and early in extra time. In the 94th minute, Ilhan Mansiz flicked a Umit Davala past goalkeeper Tony Sylva to send Turkey to its first semifinal at only its second-ever World Cup.

However, it was at Daejeon, South Korea, where the golden goal helped revive a nation and inflict another horror in a heavyweight. Attempting to emulate North Korea's upset of Italy in 1966 was South Korea in its Round of 16 meeting against Italy on June 18. South Korea forced extra time thanks to an 87th-minute goal from Ki-Hyeon Seol. Italy's nightmare became worse after Francesco Totti received a controversial second yellow card and subsequent dismissal. With the match still at 1-1 and penalties looking, Ahn Jung-Hwan headed in the winning goal in the 117th minute to send South Korea into the quarter-finals.

For Ahn, a member of Italy's Perugia in Serie A, the goal came at a price as the club's owner canceled Ahn's contract.

Madness At the Emirates

In 2019, the United Arab Emirates hosted this past Asian Cup, and the country had received its share of golden goal heroes in major tournaments. Twenty-three years earlier, in 1996, the United Arab Emirates sought to improve on its fourth-place finish from 1992 as it faced Iraq in a quarterfinal. The match stayed without a goal throughout regulation, but two minutes before the end of the first half of extra time, UAE defender. Abdulrahman Ibrahim launched a long-range shot that sent the United Arab Emirates to what would be runners-up of the tournament.

Seven years later, the United Arab Emirates hosted another major tournament. The 2003 FIFA World Youth Championship featured six elimination matches in five days, decided by a golden goal. Three of the tournament's leading scorers scored a winning goal: Japan's Daisuke Sakata, Argentina's Fernando Cavenaghi Brazil's Dudu.

Colombia filed to win in regulation against the Republic of Ireland after Paddy McCarthy scored in stoppage time. However, Erwin Carrillo scored the 106th-minute goal to send Colombia to the quarterfinals.

Two more games followed in Abu Dhabi in the quarterfinals with impressive stories. Javier Arizmendi had never played at the highest level of any football, but he received a call up to represent Spain at the tournament. His moment came in the 97th minute when he tapped the winning goal to send Spain into the semi-finals. The second game became more thrilling as the United States was on the verge of an upset against Argentina. However, Javier Mascherano scored four minutes into stoppage time to force extra time. Then Cavenaghi, who also scored a late stoppage-time goal against Uzbekistan, sent Argentina into the semi-finals with a 104th-minute penalty kick.

Drama in Lebanon

More Korean Magic

Before Ahn's goal in Daejeon, South Korea had won by the golden goal two years earlier against a West Asian rival. It came at the 2000 Asian Cup on Oct. 23 when South Korea faced rival Iran in a quarter-final. South Korea trailed 1-0 late and was facing elimination when Kim Sang-Sik scored his first goal for his country in the 90th minute. The match when into extra time when Lee Dong-Gook scored the winning goal to send South Korea into the semi-finals.

Dong-Gook established himself as a significant player in the tournament, as he led the tournament with six goals. South Korea's semi-final opponent had also won via the golden goal a day later.

Saudi Arabia had struggled against Kuwait as it trailed 2-1 in the match. Saudi Arabia was able to tie the game to force extra time needed to tie the match just to force extra time at 2-2. Having scored the opening goal right before halftime, Nawaf Al-Temyat added his second goal of the game in the 109th minute as Saudi Arabia advanced with a 3-2 victory.

Pride of Africa

Camara was not the only African player who scored a golden goal. Three years prior, two young players emerged as top goal scorers in their respective youth tournament. Nigeria hosted the FIFA U-20 World Cup, which featured an all-African meeting on Apr. 15, 1999, that became a tournament classic. Mali faced Cameroon in the Round of 16 in Enugu trailing trailed 3-1 after only 26 minutes. Mali had overcome two-goal deficits twice before Mahamadou Dissa scored a 90th-minute goal to force extra time with the match tied at 4-4. Dissa scored again before scoring again in the 104th minute as Mali finished third in the tournament.

It would be the same finish for Ghana at the FIFA U-17 World Cup in New Zealand.

Ghana had been no stranger to this tournament, finishing in the top two in the previous four editions. In 1999, Ghana boasted the tournament's top goal scorer in Ishmael Addo. His moment came on Nov. 21, 1999, as Ghana faced Uruguay in a quarter-final at Christchurch. After recording a hat trick against Thailand five days earlier, Addo scored twice in the match, the second being a 107th-minute strike to give Ghana a 3-2 victory.

Starting for Cameroon in that lost to Mali was Modeste M'Bami; nearly 18 months later, M'Bami had his moment in the Summer Olympics. Cameroon allowed a late Ronaldinho goal in a quarter-final as the match was tied 1-1 in regulation. M'Bami, who only played one game before, scored in the 113th minute to sent Cameroon into the semi-finals and an eventual gold medal at the Summer Olympics.

Dagny Mellgren (14) is congratulated by several players, including Ragnhild Gulbrandsen (16) after scoring the winning goal against the USA in the gold medal match of the 2000 Summer Olympics.

Dagny Mellgren (14) is congratulated by several players, including Ragnhild Gulbrandsen (16) after scoring the winning goal against the USA in the gold medal match of the 2000 Summer Olympics.

Relief, Heartbreak and Revenge

Golden goals have also helped spare blushes or even banish painful losses, as many nations found out.

Four years earlier, Japan was denied a World Cup berth in a match that became known as the "Agony in Doha." Japan played lackluster football in which the club suffered stunning draws in Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan ahead of crucial qualifiers in November 1997. But, Japan scored critical victories in both South Korea and the United Arab Emirates to set up a one-game playoff against Iran in Johor Bahru, Malaysia.

Japan overturned a 2-1 deficit to force extra time where Masayuki Okano scored only his second goal for Japan to secure the nation's first World Cup.

Iran eventually qualified for the World Cup, doing so at Australia's expense. It was a defeat all too painful for Australia as it looked ahead of the 1997 Confederations Cup in the UAE. Australia advanced to the semi-finals, despite losing to Saudi Arabia in its final group stage. There, Australia faced Uruguay on Dec. 19, 1997, with a berth in the final against Brazil at stake. Uruguay came into this match having won all three games in their group, but could not score against Australia as the game remained scoreless heading into extra time. Having scored his first-ever goals for Australia in each leg of its playoff against Iran. Harry Kewell scored the only goal two minutes into extra time to give Australia the victory.

The next golden goal at the Confederations Cup came two years later, in a rivalry often dominated by one key home advantage. Mexico faced the United States at Estadio Azteca in a semi-final, looking to continue its good scoring at the tournament. But the United States kept this match scoreless in regulation and early in extra time until Cuauhtemoc Blanco scored the only goal to continue the United States' struggles in Mexico City.

A month prior, the United States was the site of another golden goal; this, though, prevented a colossal upset in Landover, Md. It was a quarter-final of the 1999 Women's World Cup, and Brazil had raced to a 3-0 lead after only 35 minutes. Nigeria could not find anything going until midway through the second half when it scored three minutes in 23 minutes to force extra time. Nigeria had the momentum, but Brazil had Sissi. She had scored six times in three games at the tournament, but her seventh goal sent Brazil into the semi-finals with a 4-3 victory and some relief for Brazil.

Finally, Australia was the site of the 2000 Gold Medal match for Women's football. Norway had started the tournament losing to the United States, but both nations found themselves in the final game. The United States was looking to defend the title it won four years earlier but trailed 2-1 to Norway as the match approached stoppage time. Tiffany Milbrett scored her second goal of the game to force extra time.

However, Dagny Mellgren, who scored Norway's first goal at these Olympics, scored the winning goal to give Norway its gold medal.

Unusual Circumstances

Finally, a golden goal can come in the rarest of circumstances, especially in a qualifying campaign, and the match goes into extra time in which aggregate remained level, but not the game contested.

It happened during a de facto two-legged playoff on June 19, 1996, as Uzbekistan faced Tajikistan. The winner would qualify for the 1996 Asian Cup, with Tajikistan in command after winning the first leg 4-0. Uzbekistan raced to a 2-0 lead after eight minutes in the second leg. Uzbekistan led 3-0 after 33 minutes and then completed a miraculous comeback by levelling on aggregate in the 72nd minute. After 90 minutes, the series was level at 4-4 on aggregate as the match entered extra time. Zafar Musabayev completed the comeback as he scored five minutes into extra time

It has been over a decade since the golden goal ceased to exist. . While it is no more, the golden goal lived up to its name of making players and nations. This brief but golden moment has forever etched players into history.

  • Classic Football Matches World Cup -
    Learn all about and watch history's best games from FIFA World Cups past, including South Korea's upset of Italy at the 2002 edition, as the nation emulated North Korea's upset of Italy from 36 years earlier

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2015 Antonio Martinez

Related Articles