The first World Cup was unique in 1930 in Uruguay. Four European teams arrived on the ship. The two sides of the final disagreed about the ball used. The referee of the final was afraid of armed men entering, and one of the scorers was with one arm.
The matches of the first edition were held entirely in the capital, Montevideo, and Uruguay took a public holiday after Celeste became the first team to win the title at the expense of arch-rivals Argentina, 4-2.
At its first meeting in 1904 in Paris, the International Federation (FIFA) declared its right to organize a world championship, but it was not until the 1920s that the idea gained support.
The soccer competition at the 1924 Paris Olympics was so popular that more than 40,000 spectators watched Uruguay defeat Switzerland in the final. When the British federations, with their professional leagues, refused to participate in the event after a row over the status of amateur players, it was clear that the time had come to organize a separate international football competition.
In 1928, FIFA decided to hold the tournament once every four years, starting in 1930.
The first edition was held between 13-30 July 1930, months after the collapse of the Wall Street stock exchange, and Uruguay submitted its candidacy on the basis of its Olympic gold won in 24 and 28 and its celebrations of the centenary of its independence.
A huge Centenario Stadium was built for this event, with a capacity of ninety thousand spectators. The stadium was initially absent due to its lack of readiness, as heavy rains in the winter hampered the completion of its construction, and therefore two other stadiums were relied upon.
After Uruguay was chosen to host the first tournament, it remained to know the names of the participating teams. While invitations were sent to all countries under the FIFA banner, no qualifiers were held because the number did not reach 16.
The Godfather Remi
Two months before the tournament, the French president of FIFA, Jules Rimet, intervened to persuade the teams from the old continent to participate. Some European countries did not welcome the selection of Uruguay, because they had to travel long distances across the Atlantic, so the participation was limited to four: France, Belgium, Romania and Yugoslavia, while the British teams were absent because they did not did not join. the FIFA banner until 1950.
In the presence of Rimet, who put the cup in his pocket, accompanied by his daughter and three referees, the teams of France, Belgium and Romania traveled on board the famous steamer “Conte Verde”, while Yugoslavia on board the boarded ship Florida, which the The Egyptian team had to catch up in Marseille if it were not for a storm that faced its journey in the Mediterranean.
The Romanians, chosen by King Carol II, boarded the steamer from Genoa on June 20, the French from Villefranche-sur-Mer and the Belgians from Barcelona. It stopped in Lisbon, Madeira and the Canary Islands and picked up the Brazilian national team from Rio de Janeiro before arriving in Montevideo on July 4, nine days before the tournament.
“The seats are very bad, our bones killed us, but it was worth it,” said Romania’s captain, Rudolf Weitzer.
Nine countries from South America also participated in the finals, and the 13 teams were divided into four groups, with each leader qualifying for the semi-finals. The Frenchman, Lucien Laurent, scored the first goal in the final, in the nineteenth minute, against Mexico.
“After my goal, the first in the tournament, and my first with the French national team, we congratulated each other, but we didn’t hug each other like today in football,” Laurent said.
Argentina’s Guillermo Stabile was crowned top scorer (8) after starting the tournament on the bench, while Uruguay coach Alberto Subicchi was still 31 years old when he was crowned.
Uruguay is the first champion
The South American teams dominated the tournament, as Argentina defeated the United States 6-1 in the semifinals, and Uruguay defeated Yugoslavia by the same score. Uruguay won the final by winning 4-2 in the presence of around 68 thousand spectators, despite being down 1-2 at the end of the first half. Uruguay thus renewed its victory over its neighbour, after defeating it 2-1 in the Olympic final two years ago.
Before the final, which was missed by many Argentinians who were stranded in boats on the River Plate due to thick fog, the organizers had to strip the fans of any weapons, as the Belgian referee, John Languinus, feared the over-enthusiasm among the fans. Some 1,600 weapons from the supporters’ possessions were indeed confiscated.
Al-Hakam, who was also a reporter for German magazine Kicker, remained anxious and was keen to make sure a boat was waiting for him in the harbor to take him to safety if necessary. He used two balls for each of the two teams to satisfy them, after a dispute between them over the approved ball.
Uruguay’s fourth goal was signed by Ector Castro, “El Divino Manco” in the 89th minute, a personal achievement for the 25-year-old, who lost his aid in an electric chainsaw accident when he was thirteen years old.
And the Argentinian, Francisco Fario, who died in 2010 at the age of 100, explained that his team refused in the second half, “I played with my knee injured. Our number was reduced to ten, then there were still ‘ a player injured, and another . But they beat us honestly. What can we do? Eight against 11 They don’t have a chance.”
Then the “terrible” leader, José Nasazzi, raised the first World Cup, designed by the French sculptor, Abel Lafleur.