Christian Benteke has experienced something of a renaissance since moving to Crystal Palace over the summer. One of the knock-on effects of that has been strong performances while playing for Belgium. And now he’s got a nice credit to his name in international football.
In the opening seconds of play following kickoff against Gibraltar in World Cup qualifying, Benteke picked off a pass, plowed his way through an unprepared defense, and put the ball past the keeper for Belgium’s opening goal.
The time between kickoff and the goal? 8.1 seconds.
UEFA marked it as the fastest goal scored in a competitive international match involving one of its member teams. The previous record had been held by San Marino’s Davide Gualtieri, who scored against England in a World Cup qualifier in 1993. Benteke’s goal beat Gualtieri’s by 0.2 seconds.
If you count friendlies, Benteke’s goal comes up a bit short. The record for all international matches, as UEFA tells it, was set by Lukas Podolski for Germany in a friendly against Ecuador in 2013.
went on to pummel Gibraltar 6-0.