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Monday, July 30, 2007

Uruguay 4 x Argentina 2: World Cup Final in 1930

Exactly 77 years ago today in Montevideo, Uruguay defeated Argentina, 4 to 2, to win the first World Cup at the Estadio Centenario. I doubt that Jules Rimet, the visionary French President of FIFA, would have ever imagined how his idea would be embraced around the world. The World Cup is the single largest sporting competition in the globe. American mainstream media would be loathe to admit that the World Cup is similar to 64 Super Bowls. Or that the Super Bowl is the equivalent of one World Cup broadcast. But below are the facts of the matter:

"The World Cup was first televised in 1954 and is now the most widely-viewed and followed sporting event in the world, exceeding even the Olympic Games.[27] The cumulative audience of the 2006 World Cup - including all of the matches - is estimated to be 26.29 billion.[1] 715.1 million individuals watched the final match of this tournament (a ninth of the entire population of the planet). The 2006 World Cup draw, which decided the distribution of teams into groups, was watched by 300 million viewers.[28]"

Source: Wikipedia.

The inaugural competition was by invitation only, and represented the only time that teams did not have to qualify. England, who dropped out of FIFA in 1920, refused to send a team. Mostly, because they didn't want to play any of their enemies from WWI. And perhaps out of arrogance. Germany and Italy also did not send teams. The only way for Mr. Rimet to guarantee that any European teams would come was for the Uruguayan government to pay their travel expenses. The Belgians, French, and Romanians, along with Mr. Rimet, traveled on the same boat to South America.

Uruguay was selected due to their dominance at the Olympic Games. They won the Gold Medal at the 1924 and 1928 Games, respectively. 1930 also represented their 100th anniversary of independence; consequently, FIFA selected the small South American nation to host their first competition.

Here were the 13 teams:

Argentina
Belgium
Bolivia
Brasil
Chile
France
Mexico
Paraguay
Romania
Yugoslavia
Uruguay (host nation)
USA (third place)

The USA did very well at this tournament, and finished in third place. The USA scored a goal at the World Cup before England, Italy, or Germany. Who scored the first goal for the USA at the World Cup? Bart McGhee.

For the final, the Argentines selected the ball to be used for the first half, and the Uruguayans had the choice for the second half. At the interval, the score was 1 x 2 Argentina, but Uruguay scored three goals to win the first World Cup in front of 93,000 passionate fans. Victoriano Santos Iriate holds the honor of scoring the winning goal (the third for Uruguay) in the final. Guillermo Stabile of Argentina won the Golden Boot with 8 goals.

To learn more about World Cup history, I can suggest an excellent book written by Andres Cantor. To view it on Amazon.com, please click here.

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