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Thursday, 11 April, 2002, 08:59 GMT 09:59 UK
Uruguay 1930
The Uruguayan team line up for the inaugural World Cup final
Uruguay line up for the inaugural World Cup final
On 26 May 1928, at a meeting in Amsterdam, the Fifa congress decided that a new tournament open to all its members should be played.

A year later in Barcelona it was agreed that Uruguay, the Olympic champions and the era's footballing superpower, should celebrate 100 years of independence by hosting the first World Cup.

That they went on to win it made their celebrations complete.

Only 13 nations took part in the inaugural tournament, with a majority of nine coming from South America.

Uruguay celebrate after beating Argentina 4-2
Uruguay celebrate after beating Argentina 4-2

England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales were all ineligible, having withdrawn from Fifa because of a dispute over payments to amateur players.

However a number of British players did find their way into the team representing the United States, where professional football was being played.

Europe's only representatives were Belgium, France, Yugoslavia and Romania.

The rest turned down invitations either in a fit of pique because the competition was not being staged in Europe or cited the three-week voyage to South America as prohibitive.

Romania entered on the personal instructions of King Carol, who also selected the squad.

He gave the players three months off from their jobs with guarantees that they would be re-employed.

All games were played in three stadiums in Montevideo and, as expected, the South American countries dominated, although the European teams did not disgrace themselves.

Lucien Laurent had the honour of scoring the first ever World Cup goal as France won their opening game against Mexico 4-1.

They were then unlucky to be beaten 1-0 in an epic match against Argentina.

The referee blew the final whistle six minutes early, realised his mistake and then had to call the players, some of whom were already in the bath, back to finish the game.

Skilful Argentines

The semi-finals were both one-sided affairs.

The United States, who had beaten Belgium and Paraguay, faced Argentina, who followed victory over France with rather easier defeats of Mexico and Chile.

But the hefty Americans, nicknamed "the shot-putters" by the French, were no match for the more skilful Argentines who turned a 1-0 interval lead into a 6-1 triumph.

In the other match, Uruguay went behind to a fourth-minute goal against Yugoslavia but went on to beat them by an identical score.

Some 100,000 fans packed into the Centenario Stadium for the final on 30 July to see Argentina throw away a 2-1 half-time lead as Uruguay ran out 4-2 winners.

Jules Rimet, the Fifa president and brains behind the World Cup, presented the trophy to winning captain Jose Nazassi and football's greatest tournament was born.

After a pre-match row over which ball to use for the final, it is believed the Argentine ball was used in one half and the Uruguayan ball in the other.

Rumour has it that this is how the phrase "a game of two halves" evolved.

Group 1 results:
France 4-1 Mexico
Argentina 1-0 France
Chile 3-0 Mexico
Argentina 6-3 Mexico
Chile 1-0 France
Argentina 3-1 Chile

Group 2 results:
Yugoslavia 2-1 Brazil
Yugoslavia 4-0 Bolivia
Brazil 4-0 Bolivia

Group 3 results:
Romania 3-1 Peru
Uruguay 1-0 Peru
Uruguay 4-0 Romania

Group 4 results:
United States 3-0 Belgium
United States 3-0 Paraguay
Paraguay 1-0 Belgium

Semi-finals results:
Argentina 6-1 United States
Uruguay 6-1 Yugoslavia

World Cup Final:
Uruguay 4-2 Argentina

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