BRUSSELS — Belgium scored the fastest goal in World Cup qualifying history when Christian Benteke slotted home against Gibraltar after only seven seconds Monday.
The previous record since detailed timing was kept was held by San Marino’s Davide Gualtieri, who needed 8 seconds to score the opener against England in a 1993 qualifier.
Perhaps most amazing was that Gibraltar had the kickoff. Passing back, Benteke robbed the ball immediately after two touches, drove forward and scored with a cross-goal drive.
“The most important thing was to score early,” said Benteke, who went on to score two more goals in a 6-0 win which kept Belgium perfect atop Group H with nine points.
It was not the fastest goal in all competitions since some clubs have scored right at the kickoff with a huge high drive which caught a goalkeeper off his line.
By halftime, Belgium was leading 3-0, with Axel Witsel and Benteke also scoring.
Belgium is second in the FIFA rankings while Gibraltar is last at 205, together with six other nations.
The game was played in a near empty stadium in Faro, Portugal, almost 400 kilometers (250 miles) away from Gibraltar, which does not have a stadium that meets international standards.
Gibraltar is playing its first World Cup qualifying campaign after gaining FIFA membership in May.