Christian Benteke erases unwanted England World Cup record

San Marino’s Davide Gualtieri must be cursing the Belgian right now.

Christian Benteke and Thierry Henry
Christian Benteke and Thierry Henry The Arsenal legend offers some advice. Image JOHN THYS/AFP/Getty Images

Christian Benteke has provided England fans with a much needed boost after setting a new record for the fastest ever goal in World Cup qualifying history.

In doing so, the 25-year-old also erased a painful chapter in the history of the Three Lions that dates back to November 17, 1993.

England, then managed by Graham Taylor and under pressure to qualify for the 1994 finals in the US, faced a San Marino side expected to provide little in the way of serious resistance.

But after just 8.3 seconds, it was the Sammarinese who were ahead following an uncharactistic mistake from Stuart Pearce that allowed striker Davide Gualtieri in to score the opener.


England went on to win 7-1 but the damage was done, with Gualtieri earning a place in the record books that, for the near-23-years that followed, has remained untouched.

Now a computer salesman in San Marino, the 45-year-old remains a cult figure among football fans, especially those of the Scottish variety.

“Even now, some fans from around the world are always coming into my shop with pictures of me and shirts for me to sign,” he once revealed to the BBC.

However, Gualtieri’s time is now up, after Benteke’s goal just seven seconds into Belgium’s World Cup qualifying win over Gibraltar.


Much like the San Marino striker he succeeded, Benteke’s goal was born out of anticipation, with the Belgian capitalising on a mistake from midfielder Ryan Casciaro to score.

Despite losing his record, however, Gualtieri is unlikely to forget his famous footballing moment in a hurry.

Having retired from the beautiful game through injury at age 29, it remains his one and only goal for the national side in just nine official appearances.

As Gualtieri put it to The Mirror: “It was not the best goal I ever scored, but it was the most beautiful.”

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