Football World Cup 1930 » Winner – Teams – Statistics – History

Uruguay both hosted and won the inaugural FIFA World Cup in 1930. At a meeting in Barcelona in May 1928 the FIFA Congress gave its backing to their President, Jules Rimet's idea for a world tournament and 13 teams travelled to Montevideo to take part.

During the second half of July 1930, 18 games were played producing 70 goals, the participating nations initially drawn into four groups with the respective winners contesting the semi-finals.

All the matches were staged across three stadiums in the capital of Montevideo, with the semi-finals and final played at the purpose-built Estadio Centenario.

Participating Teams of the 1930 World Cup Finals

The decision to stage the inaugural FIFA World Cup in Uruguay was not universally well received with many of the European nations deciding against the long boat journey required to participate. Of the 41 members of FIFA at that time just 13 teams gathered in Uruguay, of which only four were from Europe – France, Belgium, Romania and Yugoslavia. None of these four had officially entered two months prior to the tournament and it took an intervention from FIFA President Jules Rimet to persuade his own country France to make the journey.

Romania’s involvement was down to the influence of the recently crowned King Carol ll. A huge football fan he not only secured his nation’s spot in the tournament he also picked the squad which was to attend. Not content with this he also helped persuade Yugoslavia to send a team too.

The remaining teams to take part in this inaugural tournament all came from South America with the exception of the USA. Aside from the finalists Uruguay and Argentina the other entrants were Brazil, Paraguay, Mexico, Chile, Peru and Bolivia. The thirteen teams were entered in a draw for group stage matches made in Montevideo after their arrival with one group composing four teams and the remaining three groups having just three teams each for these opening round robin matches.


Winner of the World Cup 1930

Football World Cup 1930

On 30th July 1930 hosts Uruguay over-turned a 2-1 halftime deficit to run out 4-2 winners against their rivals Argentina. Uruguay were the force of the time in world football having successfully defended their Olympic title in 1928. This, along with 1930 being the centenary of the nation’s first constitution, aided with their selection as hosts from the nations who applied. They came through their group matches by beating Peru 1-0 and Romania 4-0 before defeating Yugoslavia 6-1 in the semi-final.

Their victory in the final over Argentina was watched by a crowd of over 60,000, who saw the home side led by their inspirational defender and captain Jose Nasazzi. In a highly charged atmosphere, the final saw Argentina on top before the hosts worked their way back into the game in the second half. A header from Hector Castro clinched the win for Uruguay late on and meant they remained unbeaten throughout the tournament.

In their four games, they had scored 15 goals and conceded just three, with Pedro Cea finishing the tournament as their leading goalscorer with 5 goals, including a crucial equaliser in the final to make it 2-2.

The new tournament had managed to capture the public imagination and the victorious Uruguay team were instant national heroes, rewarded with a house and a plot of land for their efforts.

1930 World Cup Final

Uruguay Uruguay
Argentina Argentina
30 July 1930

The Story of 1930 FIFA World Cup

With only 13 nations accepting their invites to this first World Cup no qualifying matches were required. The four seeded teams of Uruguay, Argentina, Brazil and USA were kept apart in the draw for the four groups. The first two games of the tournament were staged at the same time and therefore became the first matches in World Cup history.

In one of these matches, France beat Mexico 4-1 in front of a capacity crowd of 1000 at the Estadio Pocitos, with French player Lucien Laurent going down in the record books as the first ever goalscorer in a World Cup game. In the other match, that day the USA recorded a 3-0 victory against Belgium giving their goalkeeper James Douglas the honour of keeping the World Cup’s first clean sheet.

The new World Cup tournament was up and running with more inevitable firsts to follow. The group match between Romania and Peru was watched by the lowest ever attendance of just 200, and they were witness to the first sending-off as such when Peru’s Placido Galindo was expelled from the match. Eventual tournament runners-up Argentina may have felt unfortunate to be drawn in the group which contained four teams rather than three and therefore having to play an extra game. Yet having edged out France 1-0 in a controversial game where the players had to be called back on to the pitch after the referee had blown for time 6 minutes too soon, more comfortable wins against Mexico and Chile saw them progress to the semi-finals.

Here they were joined by the USA who had beaten Belgium with a surprising 3-0 scoreline, before repeating the same score versus Paraguay. Containing a number of British born players, the US side was physical and had earned the nickname from within the French camp as “the shot-putters”. They were to be no match for the skillful Argentines who ran out 6-1 winners and possessed Guillermo Stabile who went on to become the top scorer in the tournament with 8 goals.

Through to the other semi-final was Yugoslavia who had beaten group favourites Brazil 2-1 to win their group and had the chance to play Uruguay. However, they were to go the same way as the US, losing 6-1 to the eventual tournament winners even though they took the lead. A controversial offside decision denied them a further goal when only 2-1 down before Uruguay’s Pedro Cea went on to complete a hat-trick.

Uruguay went on to win 4-2 in the final against Argentina in a repeat of the 1928 Olympic final. In a bizarre incident prior to the final, both sides wanted their ball to be the one used for the game, the compromise decision being to use each for one half of the final. Many Argentine fans missed out on seeing the final as the port at Montevideo struggled to handle the thousands who travelled to support their team. Meanwhile, Uruguay did not return to the World Cup again to 1950 in Brazil where they upset their hosts in the final to win the World Cup once again.