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1930 World Cup - Uruguay

By Mark Buckingham

The Jules Rimet trophy
The Jules Rimet trophy

Did you know?

  • Pedro Cea became the first player to score in the Olympic Games final and the World Cup final.
  • In the final, the first half was played with Argentina's ball and the second with Uruguay's.

Uruguay had the honour of hosting, and winning, the first World Cup after beating River Plate rivals Argentina in the 1930 final.

The principles for a World Cup competition were only laid down less than a year before the inaugural tournament, but the concept had been mooted for much of the 1920s.

Six countries were willing to host the first World Cup, with Uruguay joined in their application by Italy, Holland, Hungary, Spain and Sweden.

Fifa decided to go with Uruguay due to their status as Olympic champions, although the decision prompted the European applicants to withdraw their entry for the tournament.

In the end 13 teams took part in the first World Cup, with France cajoled into going by Fifa president Jules Rimet and Romanian King Carol funding his country's entry, while Belgium and Yugoslavia were the remaining European challengers.

From South America, hosts Uruguay were joined by Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Peru, while Mexico and the United States made the trip south. 

The opening game was between France and Mexico, with Lucien Laurent having the honour of scoring the World Cup's first goal as the Europeans won 4-1.

Other notable highlights during the competition were Bert Patenaude scoring the first hat-trick in the United States' victory over Paraguay, while Guillermo Stabile (pictured)  matched that feat a couple of days later.

Peruvian captain To De Los Casas was the first player to be sent off, whilst there was controversy in France's game against Argentina when the referee blew for full time fully six minutes before the end!

Though the final minutes were eventually played, the crowd's reaction prompted Argentina to threaten to pull out of the competition due to Uruguayan supporters favouring France.

The semi-finals pitted Argentina against the USA, and Uruguay against Yugoslavia, with both South American teams winning 6-1.

Such was the rivalry between the two finalists that there was a debate over which ball should be used. Ultimately, the Argentinian ball was used in the first half, and the Uruguayan ball in the second.

Bizarrely, it seemed to have an effect as Argentina led 2-1 at the interval, only for Uruguay to rally and run out 4-2 winners.

In so doing, Uruguay became the first holders of the World Cup and added the trophy to their Olympic titles.

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