Wirtz scores Germany's fastest ever goal in 2-0 win over France

LYON, France (AP) — Toni Kroos returned and Florian Wirtz scored the fastest Germany goal ever as they defeated France 2-0 in their friendly on Saturday.

Kroos, coaxed out of international retirement for the upcoming European Championship, wasted no time with a precise pass for Wirtz, who let fly from outside the penalty area to score in off the crossbar after seven seconds.

Kroos later confirmed they worked on the move in training.

The German soccer federation said it was the quickest goal ever scored in a national team game. The previous best was nine seconds by Lukas Podolski in a 2013 win over Ecuador.

Kai Havertz made it 2-0 after the break and Antonio Rüdiger produced a late goal-line clearance as the smiles returned to the German national team.

“It will do a lot of good,” Germany sporting director Rudi Völler said. “We always hoped and tried, also in the last games, to spark a bit of euphoria and I think we achieved it with a game like that.”

France, in contrast, was whistled derisively by the home fans at fulltime.

It was Germany’s second consecutive win over France, but only its third win in 11 games, giving Julian Nagelsmann’s team a timely boost before they host Euro 2024 this summer.

“It was an important step forward,” Kroos said after his first Germany game for nearly three years. “It was clear to us with regard to the European Championship that we were getting to the last opportunities to build some confidence and we'll take that today."

Kroos' return was just one of several team changes made by Nagelsmann in a pre-tournament shakeup.

“The question was whether it could bear fruit so quickly, the changes we made,” Kroos said. “We had a really good training week, though you often hear that and then it doesn't work out. But we were able to take it into the game.”

Stuttgart’s Maximilian Mittelstädt started for his debut at left back and Bayer Leverkusen's Robert Andrich also impressed in just his second Germany match. Stuttgart players Deniz Undav and Waldemar Anton also made their debuts as substitutes.

Undav drew a good save late on from France goalkeeper Brice Samba, who had just thwarted Mittelstädt as Germany threatened to make it 3-0.

The visitors showed bite and commitment and bossed the opening 20 minutes before Marcus Thuram fired the first French chance over. More followed. Marc-André ter Stegen denied France captain Kylian Mbappé the best opportunity in a one on one as the Germans withstood the pressure for the rest of the half.

Kroos was again involved in the second goal, combining with Mittelstädt at the back before Wirtz sent the ball to Jamal Musiala, who rounded the goalkeeper and cut the ball back for Havertz to score in the 49th.

Ousmane Dembélé flashed a shot wide of the far post in response, but the French were unable to exert the same pressure as before.

The German players had the number 83 on their tops before the game as they sang the anthem, corresponding to the remaining days before Euro 2024. The French sung their anthem a cappella, without music, then lined up beside their opponents for a message against racism. Then the stadium observed a minute’s silence for former West Germany stars Franz Beckenbauer and Andreas Brehme, who died in the last two months.


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