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World Cup 1930


The genesis of the "World Cup" idea.
 Although football was officially born in 1904 with the founding of FIFA, it wasn't until 1924 and the Olympic tournament in Paris that the game really came into its own. In Paris, for the first time, teams from other continents arrived to take on the Europeans. The tournament was an unmitigated success: 50,000 spectators watched Uruguay beat Switzerland in the Final. In 1928 however, when many nations abstained from the Olympic tournament in Amsterdam, the time was obviously ripe for a new independent football tournament to be established, free from the constraints of Olympic amateurism. On 26 May 1928 in Amsterdam, the FIFA congress presided over by Jules Rimet, voted that a new tournament be organised in 1930 and be open to all member nations. On 18 May 1929, the Barcelona congress voted that Uruguay be the first nation to host a World Cup.

Seafaring footballers
The choice was a logical one for FIFA. Uruguay at this time was the foremost footballing nation and 1930 marked its 100 years of independence. Although the news was greeted enthusiastically in all football-playing countries, many European nations harboured reservations about the prospect of crossing the Atlantic, a journey which promised to be long, tiring and costly. On 21 June 1930, the liner "Conte Verde" set sail from Villefranche-Sur-Mer with only three delegations aboard, the Belgian, French and Romanian.

A tremendous sporting success
The first World Cup had only attracted thirteen nations, including nine from South America. On the field of play however, the quality of football produced was of the highest standard. And whilst the public had expected to see a South American domination, the 4 teams from Europe did more than hold their own. As typified by the French team, beating Mexico 4 - 1 and going down narrowly to Argentina 1 - 0 in an epic struggle. The referee, who had blown the final whistle 6 minutes early, finally - after fierce protestation - recalled the players to the field, some of whom were already in the shower!

First Final, first legend
A few days later in the colossal Centenario stadium (100,000 capacity), the atmosphere was electric for all South American Final between Uruguay and Argentina. In the crowd at half-time, with Uruguay down 2 -1, the women wept and the men prayed. Uruguay fought back bravely however and put three second half goals passed the stunned Argentineans. Jules Rimet presented the « Victoire aux ailes d'or » trophy, a statuette 30cm high, made of gold and weighing 4 kg (sculpted by the Frenchman Abel Lafleur), to the Uruguayan captain José Nazassi. Celebrations in Montevideo went on for several days and nights and the day after the famous victory, the 31 July, was proclaimed a national holiday. The ball had begun to roll for football's most prestigious prize and the universal nature of the game had been officially proclaimed!

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