The FIFA World Cup 1930 was the inaugural FIFA World Cup, the world championship for men's national association football teams. It took place in Uruguay from 13 July to 30 July 1930. FIFA, football's international governing body, selected Uruguay as host nation, as the country would be celebrating the centenary of its first constitution, and the Uruguay national football team had successfully retained their football title at the 1928 Summer Olympics. All matches were played in the Uruguayan capital, Montevideo, the majority at the Estadio Centenario, which was built for the tournament.
Thirteen teams (seven from South America, four from Europe, and two from
North America) entered the tournament. Few European teams chose to
participate because of the difficulty of travelling to South America.
The teams were divided into four groups, with the winner of each group
progressing to the semi-finals. The first two World Cup matches took
place simultaneously, and were won by France and the United States, who
defeated Mexico 4–1 and Belgium 3–0, respectively. Lucien Laurent of
France scored the first goal in World Cup history, while American
goalkeeper Jimmy Douglas posted the first official "clean sheet" in the
Argentina, Uruguay, United States and Yugoslavia each won their respective groups to qualify for the semi-finals. In the final, hosts and pre-tournament favourites Uruguay defeated Argentina 4–2 in front of a crowd of 93,000 people, and became the first nation to win the World Cup.
World Cup 1930 Facts
World Cup 1930 Background
In the beginning of the 20th century, a global football tournament was always organised in the Summer Olympics. It was the 1900 Olympics which included this beautiful sport for the first time in history.
It was FIFA, founded in 1904, that started to manage the football tournaments in the 1920, 1924 and 1928 Olympics. Since FIFA and the IOC (international Olympics Committee) were disagreeing about the status of amateur players, FIFA became more eager to organize a global football tournament outside the Olympics, the official first FIFA World Cup.
On May 26 1928, it was in the capital of the Netherlands, Amsterdam, where the FIFA president Jules Rimet announced plans to organize a football tournament independent of the Olympics in 1930. On May 18 1929, FIFA announced in a Barcelona congress that the very first World Cup would be held in Uruguay. This tournament eventually contributed to the absence of a football tournament in the 1932 Olympics, the IOC did not include football in the schedule.
There were obvious reasons why Uruguay was chosen among other countries as a possible host country. Uruguay in that time was the champions of the 1924 and 1928 Olympics and the country was celebrating its 100th constitution birthday in 1930. When Uruguay’s national association offered to pay all the costs such as travel and accommodation costs of the participating teams, it was clear Uruguay would be chosen as the first country to host a World Cup. The countries Hungary, Netherlands, Sweden, Italy and Spain which were all interested in being the host, withdrew in favour of Uruguay.
World Cup 1930 Participants
Only 13 countries participated in the first ever 1930 World Cup in Uruguay.
7 countries from South America participated: Uruguay, Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Chile, Peru and Bolivia.
It was the highest amount of South American countries to have participated in a World Cup. This is also the only World Cup which contained more countries from South America than from Europe.
4 countries from Europe participated: France, Belgium, Yugoslavia (Kingdom of Yugoslavia) and Romania.
2 countries from North/Central America and Caribbean participated: USA and Mexico.
Every country affiliated with FIFA was invited to participate in the first ever World Cup. Many European countries however, declined since Uruguay was just too far away. We are talking about 1930; this means flying was not yet a common reasonable priced activity. The trip had to be made overseas.
With only 2 months to go before the kick-off, not 1 European country had announced to join the World Cup. Jules Rimet intervened and pulled some political strings. 4 European countries then decided last minute to participate in the 1930 World Cup.
Romania, Belgium and France were travelling with the same ship to Uruguay, the SS Conte Verde. They were picked up one by one. The ship also picked up three European referees and Jules Rimet who carried the World Cup trophy in his bag. The Brazilian team was picked up in Rio de Janeiro before arriving in Uruguay.
Yugoslavia travelled alone with a mail steamship called Florida.
World Cup 1930 Pools
Since 13 is an uneven number, there was 1 pool which consisted of 4 countries. The other 3 pools consisted of 3 countries. The pool draw occurred in Montevideo after all teams had arrived.
There were 4 seed countries which were considered the top teams. They were kept apart from each other and were placed in different pools. The 4 seed countries were Uruguay, Argentina, Brazil and USA and were chosen by the FIFA organizing Committee.
The original idea was to choose the format of a straight knockout system. However since only 13 teams participated, the first-round pools were formed. This original format would however be implemented in the 2 upcoming World Cups in 1934 and 1938.
This was the first time the format of a round-robin tournament was chosen. A round-robin tournament means that a team had to play against the other teams in their pool. 2 points were rewarded for a win and 1 point for a draw.
This round-robin format implemented in the first round would only be used again in the 1950 World Cup. If 2 teams obtained equal points in the first round, a play-off had to be played.
The winner of each pool would continue to the Semi-Final where the knockout phase starts. In the knockout phase, 30 minutes of extra time would be played if there was no winner after 90 minutes. This was eventually not necessary in this World Cup.
Only the Final was played after the Semi-Finals. No match for the third place was yet introduced in this World Cup.
No play-offs or extra time were eventually played.
The pools were as followed:
World Cup 1930 Stadiums
Only 3 stadiums have been used for the 1930 World Cup matches, the lowest amount in World Cup history. All the matches were held in 1 host city: Uruguay’s capital Montevideo. Estadio Centenario was specially built for the 1930 World Cup and the countries’ 100th birthday. It was planned for all the World Cup matches to be played in this stadium. However, the stadium was only finished 5 days after the World Cup started. Therefore Estadio Parque Central and Estadio Pocitos were used as well. All the Semi-Finals and the Final were held in the Estadio Centenario.
The following 3 stadiums were used:
World Cup 1930 Schedule
World Cup 1930 Memorable Matches
France – Mexico 4-1
The was the first World Cup match ever played together with the match USA against Belgium. It was in this match however where the first ever World Cup goal was scored. It was French player Lucien Laurent who scored this memorable goal in the 19th minute. Marcel Langiller and André Maschinot (2x) scored 3 goals in total for France. André Maschinot became the first person to have scored 2 goals in a World Cup match. Mexican Juan Carreño became the first Mexican to score for Mexico.
Argentina – France 1-0
This was Argentina’s first ever World Cup match. France had a hard time stopping the fierce Argentinians and were not very lucky. Goalkeeper Alex Thépot had to leave the pitch due to a jaw injury after 20 minutes and was replaced by Augustin Chantrel. This was the first substitution in World Cup history. Lucien Laurent the first World Cup goal scorer was limping during the match due to a fierce tackle by midfielder Luis Monti. He was the player who made the first and only goal of the match for Argentina. A strange fact about this match, is that the referee erroneously blew the final whistle after 84 minutes, 3 minutes after the only goal and not after the full 90 minutes. Due to vigorous protests from the French players, the match continued. This however didn’t change anything regarding the final score.
Argentina – Mexico 6-3
This is the first World Cup match where more than 5 goals have been scored in total. This match became famous for the Guillermo Stábile’s (nicknamed El Enfiltrador) hat-trick. It was believed that this was the first World Cup hat-trick ever, but this already happened 2 days before by American Bert Patenaude. Players Adolfo Zumelzú (2x) and Francisco Varallo also scored for Argentina.This match is also famous for the first awarded penalty scored in World Cup history. This record went to Mexican Manuel Rosas. He also scored Mexico’s 2nd goal and forward Roberto Gayón scored the 3rd goal.
Yugoslavia – Brazil 2-1
Brazil’s first ever World Cup match was lost with 2-1. It was also the first World Cup match which contained a South American country. It was expected for Brazil to become the pool winner, but this turned out to be Yugoslavia. Aleksandar Tirnanić and Ivan Bek scored the 2 goals for Yugoslavia. Brazilian striker Preguinho scored the only and first ever World Cup goal for Brazil.
Romania – Peru 3-1
There were only around 300 people in the stadium. This is the lowest recorded attendance of any World Cup match. You can safely state that this record will never be broken again. It was Peruvian midfielder Plácido Galindo who became the first player to be sent off in a World Cup match. There were fights with Romanian players which had to be broken up by the police. Romania won with goals scored by Adalbert Deșu, Constantin Stanciu and Nicolae Kovács. Peruvian Luis de Souza Ferreira scored the first ever World Cup goal for Peru.
Uruguay – Romania 4-0
In Uruguay’s 2nd match they showed it would be a hard task to prevent them from winning the World Cup. Only in 1 match they have scored only 1 goal which was in their first match against Peru. In this match against Romania they scored 4 goals, an amount that would be scored in every upcoming match. Romania was unexpectedly crushed by goal scorers Pablo Dorado, Héctor Scarone, Peregrino Anselmo and Pedro Cea.
USA – Belgium 3-0
This was the other first ever World Cup match together with the match France against Mexico. No one expected for the United States to win with such a high score. Belgium had a high reputation due to a great performance in the 1928 Olympics. However the United States players Bart McGhee, Tom Florie and Bert Patenaude were able to score a goal. Belgium complained and blamed the field and the referee’s decisions for the end score. The 2nd goal by Florie was offside according to them.
USA – Paraguay 3-0
This pool match is memorable for the first hat-trick scored in World Cup history. This record and privilege goes to American forward Bert Patenaude. He scored the first 2 goals in 15 minutes after kick-off. The 3rd goal was scored in the 50th minute.
Argentina – USA 6-1
Since Argentina was in pool 1, they played 1 more match than United States. United States played only 2 matches. With a strong Argentina and 2 3-0 wins by USA, it was pretty unclear which country would advance. This uncertainty continued till the end of the first half. In the first half only Luis Monti scored a goal. The 2nd half however was a completely different story. 5 goals were scored in a time span of 31 minutes by Alejandro Scopelli, Guillermo Stábile (2x) and Carlos Peucelle (2x). The only goal scored for United States occurred in the 89th minute by Jim Brown. It was a physical match where USA ended with only 8 fit players. Coincidentally, the next Semi-Final would end in an identical score. A funny myth, is that the USA coach knocked himself out when he ran onto the pitch to treat injured player Andy Auld who had a ripped lip. The coach accidentally dropped a bottle of chloroform and inhaled the fumes as he bent over to pick it up. Auld recovered without any treatment. Another story is that 1 of the players knocked the smelling salts out of the trainer’s hands and into Auld’s eyes, which temporarily blinded him.
Uruguay – Yugoslavia 6-1
For 14 minutes Yugoslavia was very hopeful in winning the 2nd World Cup Semi Final in history. However, after the first goal scored by Yugoslav forward Đorđe Vujadinović, it took 14 minutes before the 2nd Semi-Final massacre began. 3 goals were scored in the first half by Pedro Cea and Peregrino Anselmo (2x). 3 other goals were scored in the 2nd half by Pedro Cea (2x) and Santos Iriarte. Uruguay entered the first World Cup Final.
World Cup 1930 Final
The first ever World Cup Final was between 2 South American countries: Argentina and Uruguay. Both countries won every match before reaching the Final. The Final was coincidentally also the Final of the 1928 Olympics football tournament. This Final was also won by Uruguay.
The trainer of Uruguay Alberto Suppici was very strict and expected nothing but discipline from his players. Goalkeeper Andrés Mazali became the first player to be expelled from a World Cup team. He left the hotel at night while this was prohibited by the trainer. He would never play for the national team again. Although he was replaced, Uruguay still made it to the Final with ease.
The Final on the 30th of July was witnessed by 93,000 people in the stadium Estadio Centenario. The Belgian referee John Langenus who officiated the Final, demanded a quick escape route to his ship in case of emergency. The tension was high for the Final. Argentian player Luis Monti even received death threats.
The Final match contained 2 match balls. 1 was chosen by Argentina and was used in the first half. The 2nd ball was chosen by Uruguay and was used in the 2nd half. This was decided due to a dispute between both countries. It was the referee John Langenus who came up with this idea.
Uruguay started positive by scoring the first goal in the 12th minute by Pablo Dorado. Argentina however, scored 2 goals after that in the first half. The first goal was scored by Carlos Peucelle (20′) and the 2nd goal by Guillermo Stábile (37′) which some say was off-side. The 2nd half started with a nervous Uruguay. Nevertheless just over 10 minutes after the 2nd half kick-off, Uruguayan Pedro Cea tied the score to 2-2 (57′). Uruguay was not yet satisfied and scored 2 extra goals by Santos Iriarte (68′) and Héctor Castro who lost his left arm in a childhood accident (89′). With these 2 goals Uruguay ensured ownership of the World Cup trophy with an impressive final score: 2-4.
Uruguay became the first country to win a World Cup and the first country to win a World Cup on home soil. It was then FIFA president Jules Rimet himself who presented the World Cup trophy to captain José Nasazzi. This trophy would be named after him in 1946. Uruguay declared the next day as a national holiday. It became obvious the FIFA World cup was an event that has huge potential in terms of worldwide entertainment, unity and joy.
Guillermo Stábile became the top scorer of the 1930 World Cup with 8 goals after his goal in the Final.
Uruguay would participate in 1 more Final 2 decades later. For Argentina it would take a while longer to reach their 2nd World Cup Final. 48 years in total to be exact.
World Cup 1930 Records
Did You Know
World Cup 1930 FIFA Awards
World Cup 1930 FIFA All-Star Team
Of the 11 players selected for the 1930 World Cup FIFA All-Star Team, 7 players are from Uruguay. Each position contains a Uruguayan player which is pretty unique. What is more unique though is the fact that this happened again in the World Cup 1950 FIFA All-Star Team. So far Uruguay is the only country where this has happened twice.
World Cup 1930 in Action
World Cup 1930 documentary
World Cup English