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The silver goal was a method used in association football to decide the result of games in elimination matches which end in a draw after the end of regular time. A fifteen-minute extra time period is played, and if either team is leading at the conclusion of that period, that team wins the match. If the scores are level, another fifteen-minute period is played. If the scores are level after two periods of extra time, a penalty shootout decides the game. The golden goal was not removed from the Laws of the Game, and as with the golden goal rule, the silver goal was not made compulsory. Competitions operating extra time were able to use the golden goal, the silver goal, or neither procedure during extra time.

The silver goal rule was proposed to the IFAB in 2002 by UEFA to supplement the golden goal rule introduced in 1996. In extra time, a team leading after the first fifteen minute period would win; the game would no longer stop the instant a team scored as with the golden goal rule. This change was decided after golden goal victories led to some ugly behaviour from the losing teams. The golden goal was also seen as putting excessive pressure on the referee. While it was introduced with the intention of stimulating the offensive flair of the teams, this rarely happened. Ironically, the danger of conceding a goal from an opposition counter-attack made teams reluctant to take risks.

The only major competition to utilize the silver goal was the semi-final match of Euro 2004 between Greece and the Czech Republic, when Traianos Dellas scored for Greece after a corner kick in the last two seconds of the first period of extra time. This was also the last ever professional silver goal, as the tournament final between Greece and Portugal did not reach extra time.

However, the silver goal also failed to please the IFAB. If one team scored, the other at least had until the end of the first period of extra-time to pull level, unless the leading goal was scored. This denied the losing team the chance of saving the match simply by virtue of when the goal is scored. The Euro 2004 semi-final best illustrated the point; if the Greek goal had been scored 15 seconds later, that is immediately after the extra-time interval (instead of the last two seconds of the first period of extra time), the Czechs would have had nearly 15 minutes to attempt to score the equalizer. Furthermore, one team could benefit unfairly from the conditions, such as if a strong wind aided one side.

In February 2004 it was decided that after Euro 2004 in Portugal, extra time would return solely to the usual two 15-minute halves without any goal-scoring considerations, as they were before the 1996 European Championships.

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