First FIFA World Cup
The world’s most watched sporting event, the FIFA World Cup had humble beginnings and was held for the very first time in Uruguay in 1930. The Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) with their base at Zurich, Switzerland chose Uruguay to host the first FIFA World Cup as they had just retained their Olympic football title in 1928. Invitations were sent out to every country that was associated with FIFA and an acceptance deadline of February 28 was set. Thirteen teams, seven from South America, four from Europe and two from North America agreed to participate. Most other European teams declined the invitation as the costs of travelling to South America and the extended time to be spent there were limiting factors. All the matches were played at Montevideo, the Uruguayan capital at the Estadio Centanario which was specially constructed for the World Cup.
The participating teams were divided into four groups, with the winner of each group reaching the semi-finals. The first two matches of the world cup were held simultaneously, the French and the American teams emerged victorious with comfortable three goal leads over their opponents Mexico and Belgium respectively. The first goal of the FIFA World Cup came from Lucien Laurent of France. Group 1 favorites Argentina breezed over France, Mexico and Chile to secure their spot in the semi-finals.
Group 2 saw some unexpected wins when Brazil lost to Yugoslavia, a 2-1 surprise win over the favorites. During both games, Bolivia showed promise during the start of the matches then went to concede four goals to both Yugoslavia and Brazil. Yugoslavia had secured their berth for the semi-finals.
Uruguay, Peru and Romania made up Group 3. Romania used their one man advantage over Peru to win 3-1 after Plácido Galindo of Peru was dismissed. Hosts Uruguay 1-0 victory over Peru was viewed as a lackluster performance in Uruguay. The final match of Group 3 saw Uruguay beat Romania 4-0 to earn their spot in the semi-finals. Group 4 witnessed a confident USA beat both Belgium and Paraguay with identical (3-0) scores.
The semi-finals did not disappoint with Argentina and Uruguay walking away with identical scores (6-1) over the USA and Yugoslavia respectively. The finals of the 1930 FIFA World Cup saw a repeat lineup of the 1928 Olympic finals. The match was played with two different balls, with Argentina providing the ball for the first half and Uruguay with the one used for the second half. With the final whistle of the first half Argentina was in command of the game with a goal each from Carlos Peucelle and Guillermo Stábile for Argentina against a lone goal from Uruguay’s Pablo Dorado. The second half saw Uruguay get back in the game with an equalizer from Pedro Cea. Santos Iriarte and Castro of Uruguay rushed in two more goals to tip the scales strongly in Uruguay’s favor before the final whistle. The President of the French Football Federation Jules Rimet handed out the trophy to the jubilant champions Uruguay.