Just four years after its centenary year, the Uruguayan Football Association is celebrating another milestone in the history of the game: the 75th anniversary of the inaugural FIFA World Cup, held in Uruguay in 1930 and won by the hosts after a thrilling 4-2 victory over Argentina in the Final.

With preparations for the anniversary in full swing in Montevideo, on the other side of the Rio de la Plata the only survivor of that epic encounter is still struggling to come to terms with that painful defeat. Despite his 95 years, Argentina's Francisco Varallo remembers the game only too well, and the mere mention of it brings a look of sadness to his face: "It's a bitter pill that I've never been able to swallow. We were 2-1 up and were the better side. Even today, I still can't believe we lost," says Don Pancho, as he is affectionately known, in an exclusive interview with FIFA.com.

Born on 2 February 1910 in Los Hornos, a suburb of La Plata, the capital of Buenos Aires province, Varallo began his career with local side 12 de Octubre before joining one of the city's biggest clubs, Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata, where he soon made his First Division debut.

With his razor-sharp memory, Varallo picks up the story: "What not many people know is that when I was 18, I had a trial with Estudiantes first of all, Gimnasia's eternal rivals. I scored 11 goals in three games and they wanted to sign me, but the directors at 12 de Octubre were all triperos (or "gut-handlers" as Gimnasia fans are known), and didn't want me joining the enemy. Then I had a trial with el lobo (Gimnasia). I made my debut in a Third Division game and scored all nine goals in a 9-1 victory. A week later I was playing in the First Division."

Pancho was a key figure in Gimnasia's amateur league title success of 1929. With his power, sharpness in front of goal and bubbly personality, it was not long before he forced his way into the national side. Within a year he would run out in front of a baying 80,000 crowd at the Centenario Stadium in Montevideo to play in the inaugural FIFA World Cup Final:  

"I was a 20-year-old kid at the time, ready to take on the world. I'd only scored one goal in the finals up to then, against Mexico in the first round, the day I got injured. I missed the semi-final and I was doubtful for the final. I had a fitness test on the morning of the game and I felt fine, so we decided to give it a go. There were no substitutes back then and we all knew it was a big risk, but there was no way I was going to miss the Final," recalls Varallo.

Don Francisco pauses, thinks for a moment, and then continues. "It was a really tough game and they scored first. We were playing better, though, and Carlos Peucelle and Guillermo Stábile scored to put us 2-1 up. I thought we'd done it, that there was no way we could lose. But we couldn't get the third. My injury started to hurt after I hit a shot against the bar, which would have settled it if you ask me, and I had to go off. I couldn't walk! They started to put pressure on us then, and with the greatest respect to my team-mates, I reckon we lacked a little steel. In the end they came back to win 4-2. I cried so much that day. I still remember it now and it makes me so angry …"

The following year, Varallo joined Boca Juniors where he signed his first professional contract. He went on to become an undisputed idol and the club's leading scorer after scoring 181 goals in 210 games, a record that stands to this day.

In the meantime, he continued to wear the national colours with distinction and formed part of the side that lifted the South American Championship in Buenos Aires in 1937 after a dramatic play-off against Brazil. But it was in a game with Argentina that he received the injury that would ultimately bring an abrupt end to his career. Playing against Chile he took a heavy knock on the left knee and went on to aggravate the injury during an Argentine league match. Having decided against having an operation, Varallo would spend the whole week in bed and get up on Sundays to play. He was able to play only one game in 1938 though, and although he made more appearances the following year, he decided to retire in 1940 at the age of 30.

Varallo takes up the story again in his inimitable style: "When I look back on my career there was no moment more bitter than that final. I still wonder today how we let it slip, and I'm convinced that if I'd stayed on the pitch we would have won. That said, I don't have any hard feelings against the Uruguayans. In the qualifiers for the last World Cup, when they played Argentina in the last game I even wanted them to get through. At the end of the day, they were more ambitious than us and deserved to win. I think it's great they're going to be celebrating it, but I can tell you one thing, they'd better not expect me to watch it on TV."