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On this day in 1930, the inaugural FIFA World Cup started in Uruguay

Exactly 91 years ago today the first-ever FIFA World Cup kicked off in Uruguay. Hosts Uruguay ended up winning the tournament by beating Argentina in the finals.

KT
Last updated: 13.07.2021
On this day in 1930 the inaugural FIFA World Cup started in Uruguay

Exactly 91 years ago today the first-ever FIFA World Cup kicked off in Uruguay. Hosts Uruguay ended up winning the tournament by beating Argentina in the finals. Since then there have been twenty-one editions of the tournament with eight different winners.


Uruguay was selected as the host country and all the games were played in the capital city of Montevideo. The Estadio Centenario was specifically constructed for the World Cup and hosted majority of the games including the Semifinals and the final.


Thirteen teams (seven from South America, four from Europe and two from North America) entered the tournament. Only a 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. Group 1 was the only group that had four teams while the other 3 groups had three teams. 


The first World Cup was the only one without qualification. Every country affiliated with FIFA was invited to compete. The number of 16 teams was not reached so there were no qualifications. All four British countries were invited despite having resigned from Fifa. The F.A eventually rejected the invitation.

The first two World Cup matches took place simultaneously on 13th July 1930 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.


Argentina, Uruguay, the United States and Yugoslavia each won their respective groups to qualify for the semi-finals. The four group stage winners won all their games.


Both Uruguay and Argentina won the Semifinals 6-1 against Yugoslavia and United States respectively to make the final a replay of the 1928 Olympic final. The United States and Yugoslavia both received bronze medals as the third-place game was established in 1934. There is no official record of a third-place match although some sources suggest that there was a third-place match played which Yugoslavia won while other sources claim that Yugoslavia refused to play the third-place game because of being upset with the refereeing in the semi-final. 


Uruguay were clear favourites to win the tournament after winning back to back Olympic gold medals. They comfortably defeated Argentina 4-2 in the finals. With eight goals, Argentine centre forward Guillermo Stábile was the top scorer in the tournament. In total, 70 goals were scored by 36 players, with only one of them credited as an own goal. 

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