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Sunday, May 3, 1998 Published at 17:38 GMT 18:38 UK

Meet the BBC Team
Uruguay 1930
image: [ World Cup winners, Uruguay 1930 ]
World Cup winners, Uruguay 1930

This was the era in which Uruguay reigned supreme. Already Olympic champions, they celebrated 100 years of independence by hosting and winning the first World Cup.

Who played?

In all only 13 nations - nine from South America - turned up.

England, Ireland Scotland and Wales were ineligible to play, having withdrawn from FIFA because of a dispute over payments to amateur players.

Europe's only representatives were Belgium, France, Yugoslavia and Romania, as the other European countries did not want to travel that far. Romania entered on the instructions of King Carol, who also selected the squad.

What happened?

The South American countries dominated as expected, but the European teams did not disgrace themselves.

France won their first game against Mexico 4-1 but were then beaten in an epic match against Argentina in which the referee blew the whistle six minutes early. The official was then required to recall the players to the field, some of whom were already in the bath.


[ image: Jules Rimet presents the trophy to Paul Jude]
Jules Rimet presents the trophy to Paul Jude
Some 100,000 fans packed into the Centenario stadium for the final. They watched as Argentina threw away a 2-1 half-time lead to lose 4-2 to Uruguay. Jules Rimet, the FIFA President and brains behind the World Cup, presented the trophy and football's greatest tournament was born.

Any lasting memories?

Before the final kicked off there was a row over which ball to use. It is believed the Argentine ball was used in one half, the Uruguayan ball in the other. Rumour has it that this is how the phrase "a game of two halves" evolved.





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In this section:

Radio 5 Live's France 98 Coverage

Platini - legend on and off the pitch

Ten of the best

England can't rely on lady luck

Uruguay 1930

USA 1994

Italy 1990

Mexico 1986

Sweden 1958

World Cup History

Switzerland 1954

Spain 1982

Brazil 1950

France 1938

Mexico 1970

England 1966

Italy 1934

Argentina 1978

Germany 1974

Chile 1962

No ticket to ride

Tackling new rules

BBC TV at the heart of France 98