While the 2014 World Cup has already seen more goals in the first round than any other tournament since 1958, none have happened faster than when the U.S. Men’s National Team played Ghana in its opening match. Clint Dempsey’s goal at 29 seconds put the U.S. up 1-0 over Ghana, a match the American eventually won 2-1. This was unexpected, since goals in soccer are supposed to be a little bit harder to come by than that — part of the beauty of the game comes from the degree of difficulty in navigating the ball all the way into the other team’s net, after all.
The most surprising fact about Dempsey’s goal might be how low it ranks on the all-time list. The game has evolved since the beginning of the World Cup in 1930, as soccer is not immune from the skill creep that affects all sports (“skill creep” meaning that the average international soccer player today is arguably a better player than the average international player from 50 or so years ago), but the fastest goals in World Cup history come from all over the map, chronologically speaking.
In fact, the list functions as a bit of a guide to the World Cup over the years, as records stretch from the 1930s to today. Without wasting any more time, here are the seven fastest goals in World Cup history.