The First Football World Cup was held on 13th July, 1930. It was the inaugural, the beginning for the FIFA World Cup which eventually gained popularity and became the most watched sporting event since then. Uruguay who won back-to-back gold medals at the Olympics held in Paris in 1924 and in Amsterdam in 1928 was given an opportunity to host the game. While all the matches were played in Montevideo which is the capital of Uruguay, the final match was played at Estadio Centenario stadium which was specifically built for the tournament, as reported by FootballHistory channel.
Key highlights of this blog are :-
- How it all started ?
- Issues faced during this process.
- Key Statistics and Figures
- Format and Structure of the tournament
- The Champion Team
- The Grand Finale
How it All Started ?
Despite the huge success of football in 1924 Olympics which was held in Paris and 1928 Olympics which was held in Amsterdam, it was dropped from the Olympics programme which was to be held in Los Angeles in the year 1932. This news spread like a wildfire and disappointed many fans across the globe. Considering all the public sentiments, Jules Rimet (who was then the president of FIFA) decided to organize an international football tournament in the year 1930 and chose Uruguay (the back-to-back Olympics winner) as a host to the first ever Football World Cup.
Issues Faced During This Process
- The great depression of 1930s which severely affected Central Europe also hindered the course of the game. While the output fell by 40%, the unemployment rose by approximately 20% during this period which created a fear in the mind of European players.
- The fear to lose their job was instilled to such an extent in their mind, that most of them were either unable or were unwilling to attend the tournament.
- Due to this crisis some of the most accomplished European teams and football enthusiasts such as England, Spain, Italy, Germany and Holland did not even make an appearance in the First Football World Cup in 1930.
- As an effort to ease the situation, Uruguay agreed that it will help pay travelling expenses to the visiting teams which helped Jules Rimet convince Belgium, France, Romania and Yugoslavia.
- Romanian King, Carol himself selected the team members and gave them a 3 months vacation from their jobs to take part in the tournament and also ensured the players that they will get back their job once they return from the tournament.
Key Statistics and Figures
• A total of 13 teams participated in the tournament.
• All the games were played from 13th July-30th July.
• A total of 18 matches were played and a total of 70 goals were scored (at an average of 3.89 goals per match) during the tournament.
• A total of 5,90,549 spectators (approximately 32,808 spectators per match) visited the stadiums to watch the matches during the tournament.
• Guillermo Stábile emerged as the top scorer during the tournament with 8 goals.
• Lucien Laurent was the first footballer to score the first goal in the Football World Cup history in the first match on July 13, 1930.
• Jimmy Douglas, United States goalkeeper posted his first “Clean Sheet” of the tournament.
• The first game in the Football World Cup was played on July 13th, 1930. On this day, France played against Mexico and won 4-1 in the game and United States played against Belgium and won by 3-0 respectively.
Format And Structure of the Tournament
- The 13 teams were divided into 4 groups and eventually the winners of all the respective groups would face off in the semi finals. While Group 1 constituted 4 teams the remaining constituted of 3 teams each.
- Each group played a round-robin format where the winners would eventually move further in the tournament.
- Argentina, Chile, France and Mexico were together constituted in Group 1, of which Argentina emerged as the group winner defeating the remaining three teams.
- Group 2 constituted of Yugoslavia, Brazil and Bolivia where Yugoslavia emerged as the group winner defeating the remaining two teams.
- Group 3 constituted of the home team Uruguay, Romania and Peru of which Uruguay emerged as the winner defeating the remaining two teams.
- Group 4 constituted of United States, Prague and Belgium of which United States emerged as the group winner defeating the remaining two teams.
In the semi finals, Argentina defeated United States (6-1) on 26th July to secure it’s position in the finals and Uruguay defeated Yugoslavia (6-1) on 27th July to earn it’s position in the finals.
The Grand Finale
After Argentina defeated United States and Uruguay defeated Yugoslavia in the semi-finals which was played on 26th and 27th July respectively, Argentina and Uruguay were all set to face each other at the Estadio Centenario stadium on 30th of July, 1930. It appeared as a repeat of the match at the 1928 Olympics in which Uruguay won 2-1.
- Almost 93,000 spectators came to the stadiums to witness the epic encounter between the two.
- The gates were opened at 8’O clock, approximately 6 hours before the kick-off and the ground was full by noon.
- The supporters were also searched for potential weapons keeping in mind the security of the players and the officials. Also, due to a disagreement between the two teams over who should provide the match ball, FIFA was forced to intervene and it decided that Argentina will provide the match ball in the first half of the game after which Uruguay will provide the match ball in the second half of the game.
- John Langenus was the match referee in the finals who decided to officiate a few hours before the game, only after he was assured security and safety. He also requested to keep a boat ready at the harbor within one hour of the final whistle in case he needed to make a quick escape.
- The match started and Pablo Dorado scored the first goal of the game giving Uruguay a lead of 1-0. However, within eight minutes Carlos Peucelle from Argentina leveled the score. Intensely the game continued and leading goal scorer of the tournament Guillermo Stábile scored a goal to bring Argentina into the lead. Thus by halftime, the score stood at 2-1 with Argentina in the lead.
- However, in the second half Uruguay became ascendant. Just after Monti missed a chance to score 3-1, Uruguay started attacking. Pedro Cea scored an equalizer taking the score to 2-2 which ensured that Uruguay still stays in the game. 10 minutes later, another goal was scored by Santos Iriarte which brought Uruguay into the lead.
- Just before the referee John Langenus made the final whistle for the full time, another goal by Castro turned the scores from 3-2 to 4-2 and sealed the win.
The Champion Team – Uruguay
Head coach: Alberto Suppici
Enrique Ballestero (Goalkeeper)
Joséo Nasazzi (Defender)
Ernesto Mascheroni (Defender)
Álvaro Gestido (Midfielder)
José Leandro Andrade (Midfielder)
Lorenzo Fernández (Midfielder)
Pablo Dorado (Forward)
Santos Iriartre (Forward)
Héctor Scarone (Forward)
Pedro Cea (Forward)
Héctor Castro (Forward)
With last goal of the 1930 Football World Cup by Castro, Uruguay defeated Argentina and became the winner of the first ever FIFA World Cup tournament. Jules Rimet presented the Uruguay team with the trophy and it was a proud moment for the team as they added this title to their bucket of last two Olympic wins. With this, the much intense first ever international football tournament came to an end and the next day was declared as a national holiday in Uruguay.
How many of you have seen this match? Which is your favorite Football team?