If You Turned the Game on After 30 Seconds You Missed a U.S. Goal

Slate's soccer blog.
June 16 2014 6:20 PM

If You Turned the Game on After 30 Seconds You Missed a U.S. Goal

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That was fast.

Getty Images /Michael Steele

Clint Dempsey got the U.S. World Cup campaign off to the best possible start, scoring the opening goal against Ghana in just 30 seconds. FIFA went back and forth on that time, at one point saying it occured after 34 seconds and at others 29 seconds. But according to the Associated Press, the official time had been changed on Tuesday to 30 seconds. The Seattle Sounders forward knifed his way through the Ghanaian backline before slotting home the opener with his left foot. It was the fifth-fastest goal in World Cup history, behind Bryan Robson’s 27-second score in 1982 and in front of Bernard Lacombe's 31-second goal for France in 1978.* The fastest goal of all-time was scored by Turkey’s Hakan Sukur, who scored in the first 11 seconds in 2002 against hosts South Korea. Dempsey’s strike was the fastest goal the U.S. has ever scored at the World Cup.

*Correction, June 17, 2014: This post misstated that Clint Dempsey's goal was the fourth-fastest goal in World Cup history at 29 seconds. FIFA's latest update puts the time at 30 seconds, making it the fifth-fastest. The post also misstated that the goal ranked between Bryan Robson’s 27-second score in 1982 for England and Emile Veinante’s 35-second score for France in 1938. According to FIFA, it was between Robson and Bernard Lacombe's 31-second goal for France.

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Jeremy Stahl is a Slate senior editor. You can follow him on Twitter.