Fastest goal scored in World Cup final: Earliest strike in FIFA championship match history

By | December 18, 2022

World Cup finals have been some of the tensest matches ever watched down the years with narrow victories proving to be a winning formula.

A positive start can define a team’s chances of World Cup glory, with an early goal offering an incredible confidence boost, as the eyes of the world focus on your side.

However, nerves have played a crucial role in recent finals, as players look to avoid mistakes on the biggest stage, with early goals reducing since 2006.

The last three finals have included two 1-0 wins in added time, in 2010 and 2014, as Spain and Germany were forced to work overtime to secure World Cup glory.

In total, there have been 77 goals scored in 21 World Cup finals since 1930, but only one of the last five has featured over two goals scored inside 90 minutes.

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Fastest goal scored in a World Cup final

With the pressure of World Cup glory matched up against bitter defeat, finals tend to be tactical battles, with group stage and early knockout round thrillers left behind.

The amount of early goals scored has reduced significantly in modern finals with France 4-2 win over Croatia in 2018 a rare break from the overall pattern.

World Cup Finals – Fastest Goals Scored
Minute Scored Team Goalscorer Final Result Year
2nd Netherlands Johannes Neeskens Netherlands 1 West Germany 2 1974
4th Sweden Nils Liedhom Brazil 5 Sweden 2 1958
6th Italy Gino Colaussi Italy 4 Hungary 2 1938
6th Hungary Ferenc Puskas West Germany 3 Hungary 2 1954
7th France Zinedine Zidane Italy 1 France 1 (Italy won 5-3 on pens) 2006
8th Hungary Zoltan Czibor West Germany 3 Hungary 2 1954
8th Hungary Pal Titkos Italy 4 Hungary 2 1938
9th Brazil Vava Brazil 5 Sweden 2 1958
10th West Germany Max Morlock West Germany 3 Hungary 2 1954
12th West Germany Helmut Haller England 4 West Germany 2 1966

Earliest goal in World Cup final history

The 1974 World Cup final between the Netherlands and West Germany pitted the two European powerhouses together for the first time in a World Cup final.

Captained by iconic stars Johan Cruyff and Franz Beckenbauer, the final was tipped to be a fine battle, and it started with a bang in Berlin.

Cruyff’s slaloming run into the West Germany box was ended by Uli Hoeneß’ poor challenge and Johannes Neeskens calmly buried from the penalty – in the first ever spot kick awarded in a World Cup final.

However, the hosts were quick the respond, as Paul Breitner converted his own penalty shortly after, and the iconic Gerd Muller steered home the winner just before the break.

A 3-1 victory secured West Germany’s first World Cup since 1954, as the Netherlands lost back-to-back finals, in 1974 and 1978.

Do teams who score first win the World Cup final?

The temptation to sit back after scoring early has come back to haunt many teams in a World Cup final as the pressure is ramped up.

In 21 World Cup finals, scoring first has offered a mixed return of emerging victorious, with 12 finals won by the first scorer, ahead of the 2022 showdown between Argentina and France.

World Cup Finals – Score First and Lose*
Nation Goalscorer Opponent Year Final Result
Czechoslovakia Antonin Puc (71′) Italy 1934 Italy 2 Czechoslovakia 1
Brazil  Friaca (47′) Uruguay 1950 Uruguay 2 Brazil 1
Hungary Ferenc Puskas (6′) West Germany 1954 West Germany 3 Hungary 2
Sweden Nils Liedholm (4′) Brazil 1958 Brazil 5 Sweden 2
Czechoslovakia Josef Masopust (15′) Brazil 1962 Brazil 3 Czechoslovakia 1
West Germany Helmut Haller (12′) England 1966 England 4 West Germany 2
Netherlands Johannes Neeskens (2′) West Germany 1974 Netherlands 1 West Germany 2
France Zinedine Zidane (7′) Italy 2006 Italy 1 France 1 (Italy won 5-3 on pens)

* The 1994 World Cup final between Italy and Brazil ended 0-0 after extra time with Brazil winning 3-2 on penalties.