On This Day: Bryan Robson's 27-second strike in Spain

Tuesday 16 Jun 2015
Bryan Robson scored against France after 27 seconds

England’s World Cup in 1982 could hardly have had a better start. 

The Three Lions were playing France in Bilbao in their opening Group B fixture on 16 June - and Bryan Robson scored after 27 seconds.

It was England’s first World Cup since Sir Alf Ramsey had taken the holders to defend their title in Mexico 12 years earlier. 

Bryan Robson

Robson played 90 times for England, scoring 26 goals

They had missed out on the tournaments of ’74 and ’78 in West Germany and Argentina and Ron Greenwood’s side only made it to the Spain Finals after a difficult qualifying campaign during which they had lost to Romania, Switzerland and Norway.

The searing heat in Bilbao’s San Mames Stadium and the importance of the match made the occasion almost unbearably tense – but England got their dream start. 

From the kick-off England won a throw-in on the right. Steve Coppell launched the ball forward, Terry Butcher flicked it on and Bryan Robson hooked it beyond a bemused Jean-Luc Ettori in the French goal.

Robson scored again in the second half, so to did Paul Mariner, in their 3-1 win.

At the time Robson's opener was claimed to be the fastest goal in the 52-year history of World Cup Finals. But it was more likely to have been the third fastest.

Hakan Sukur

Hakan Sukur netted after 10.8 seconds

Mexico beat Czechoslovakia 3-1 in Vina del Mar during the Chile Finals of 1962 despite going behind after just 15 seconds. 

The Mexicans kicked off but gave the ball away, Josef Masopust set up the blond Vaclav Masek on the left and his shot rolled under Antonio Carbajal, Mexico’s goalkeeper and captain.

There was another quick goal in the Third Place Match at the 1934 Finals. Germany edged Austria 3-2 in Naples, Ernst Lehner leaping in to score for the Germans right in front of Austrian ‘keeper Peter Platzer after 24 seconds. 

Robson’s effort in Bilbao continued to be quoted as the World Cup’s fastest until Hakan Sukur put paid to that with his goal for Turkey against South Korea in the Third Place Match in Taegu in 2002.

Sukur’s strike was timed at 10.8 seconds!

By David Barber FA Historian