Fastest goal scored in World Cup history: Updated list of the earliest strikes from the start of a match in a FIFA men’s tournament

By | November 22, 2022

The World Cup returns in 2022 and for the first time ever, football’s showpiece event is hosted in the Arab World as Qatar welcomes some of the sport’s biggest superstars.

Those stars will be looking to make their own World Cup history, whether that’s winning the tournament with their nation or by producing their own moments of magic. In his own words, Pele described the competition; “the World Cup is a very important way to measure the good players, and the great ones. It is a test of a great player.”

Lifting the trophy on three occasions, many players this time around will be looking to emulate the Brazilian great who also notched 12 times at the World Cup. 

But which player currently holds the record for the fastest World Cup goal ever scored, and do teams who score first in tournament matches go on to win? 

What is the fastest World Cup goal in history?

Hakan Suker – Turkey (11 seconds)

The fastest World Cup goal ever scored came during the 2002 tournament which was hosted collectively by Japan and South Korea. 

After a fantastic tournament that saw them reach the semi-finals of the competition – their best ever result in tournament history – Turkey ended up facing host nation South Korea in the third-place play off.

Up stepped striker Hakan Suker who then scored after just 11 seconds, a goal that still holds the record for the fastest goal ever scored at the World Cup.

Hakan Sukur Turkey

What makes his achievement so impressive is that that strike was his only ever World Cup goal. 

Equally, South Korea also took the kick-off in the match which means that in 11 seconds Turkey had regained possession of the ball and had taken the lead through Suker. 

List of fastest goals in World Cup history

Scorer Time Nation Final Result Tournament
Hakan Suker 11 secs Turkey W 3-2 vs. South Korea 2002
Vaclav Masek 16 secs Czechoslovakia L 3-1 vs. Mexico 1962
Ernst Lehner 24 secs Germany W 3-2 vs. Austria 1934
Bryan Robson 27 secs England W 3-1 vs. France 1982
Clint Dempsey 30 secs USA W 2-1 vs. Ghana 2014
Emile Veinante 35 secs France W 3-1 vs. Belgium 1938
Arne Nyberg 35 secs Sweden L 5-1 vs. Hungary 1938
Bernard Lacombe 37 secs France L 2-1 vs. Italy 1978
Florian Albert 50 secs Hungary W 6-1 vs. Bulgaria 1962
Adalbert Desu 50 secs Romania W 3-1 vs. Peru 1930

What is the fastest goal ever scored in a top five European league or European club competition?

In comparison to Hakan Suker’s record breaking goal at the World Cup, there have been at least ten instances of faster goals scored across Europe’s top five leagues and European club competitions (UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League and UEFA Conference League plus former tournaments) combined throughout history. 

Of those, Rafael Leão is the proud owner of the fastest goal ever netted during a match either across Europe’s top five leagues or European club competition. 

The AC Milan forward struck just 6.2 seconds into his side’s match vs. Sassuolo in 2020, a record unlikely to be beaten any time soon. 

Top ten fastest goals scored across Europe’s top five leagues

Player Competition Team Opposition Time Taken
Rafael Leão Serie A AC Milan Sassuolo 6.2 secs
Joseba Llorente La Liga Real Valladolid Espanyol 7.22 secs
Shane Long Premier League Southampton Watford 7.69 secs
Kylian Mbappe Ligue 1 PSG Lille 8 secs
Michel Rio Ligue 1 Caen Cannes 8 secs
Paolo Poggi Serie A Piacenza Fiorentina 8.1 secs
Kevin Volland Bundesliga Hoffenheim Bayern Munich 9 secs
Karim Bellarabi Bundesliga Bayer Leverkusen Borussia Dortmund 9 secs
Ledley King Premier League Spurs Bradford City 9.9 secs
Roy Makaay Champions League Bayer Munich Real Madrid 10.12 secs

What was the fastest goal at the 2018 World Cup?

The fastest goal at the 2018 World Cup – the last tournament played – came in Denmark’s match vs. Croatia when Mathias Jørgensen netted within the first minute of the match.

Mathias Jorgensen Denmark 2018

The official clock stood at just 58 seconds when the central defender bundled home the match’s opening goal following a long throw in. 

As such, Jørgensen’s is currently ranked as the 12th fastest goal ever scored in World Cup history. 

Do teams that score first at the World Cup often win?

When looking across the last two World Cup tournaments (2014 and 2018), nations who score the opener in a game usually go on to win the same match. 

Out of the 120 World Cup matches over the last two editions that have seen a goal scored, 93 times the team who scored first went on to win the match – a 77.5% win-rate. 

Record over last two World Cups when scoring first

Tournament Wins Draws Losses
2014 46 4 7
2018 47 8 8

That said, at the most recent World Cup in 2018, opposing nations fought back stronger from conceding the opening goal in a match as seen by the fact that there was twice as many draws and one extra loss.