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Monday, 8 April, 2002, 10:51 GMT 11:51 UK
Uruguay falter after a great start
Jules Rimet (left) with Uruguay's Paul Jude after Uruguay had won the 1930 World Cup
Jules Rimet presents Uruguay with the trophy in 1930
Uruguay's place in the history of the world's greatest football tournament was secured from its very beginnings.

The inaugural World Cup finals were held in Uruguay in 1930 and the hosts promptly clinched the first of their two World Cup wins.

Uruguay recorded victories in each of the four matches they played, scoring 14 goals and conceding just three.

In their opening matches, the hosts beat Peru 1-0 and Romania 4-0. Yugoslavia were then dismissed 6-1 in a one-sided semi-final.

Uruguay's World Cup stats
Winners: 1930, 1950
Games Played: 37
Won: 15
Drawn: 8
Lost: 14
Goals scored: 61
Goals conceded: 52

The final was held in Montevideo in front of a crowd of 90,000. The tournament had certainly captured the public's imagination.

The kick-off was scheduled for 2pm, but the stadium gates had opened at 8am and by noon the ground was packed.

Uruguay took the lead, but after Argentina fought back, they had to overturn a 1-2 deficit at half-time to eventually win 4-2.

Their success was not repeated for 20 years as Uruguay did not participate in 1934 or 1938, troubled by players' strikes and resentful at the defection of European powers from the first tournament.

Two-out-of-two

In 1950 the World Cup finals returned after a 12-year absence due to the war.

Uruguay were present for the first time since the competition's inception and continued their 100% record in Brazil.

Their success was remarkable for two reasons.

Uruguay celebrate winning the world Cup in 1930
Uruguay celebrate winning the world Cup in 1930
Firstly, the competition made no provision for an official final and was instead based on a pool system.

Uruguay were left with only Bolivia as opponents in the first pool phase after among others, Scotland, France and Portugal refused to compete.

Secondly, the schedule heavily favoured host-nation Brazil, who played all but two of their matches in Rio while the other teams had to travel around.

After recording their biggest-ever win in the World Cup with an 8-0 demolition of Bolivia, Uruguay progressed to the second phase.

Here they managed to accumulate three points after a 3-2 win over Sweden and a 2-2 draw with Spain.

Ironically, their last match against Brazil, who led the pool on four points after thumping Sweden 7-1 and Spain 6-1, became an unofficial final.

World Cup history
Biggest win: 8-0 v Bolivia in 1950
Biggest defeat: 1-6 v Denmark in 1986
Top scorer: Juan Schiaffino, 7 goals
Most appearances: Ladislao Mazurkiewicz, 13 matches

Although Brazil needed only a draw to secure the World Cup, Uruguay could usurp their hosts in what was a winner-takes-all match.

There was an euphoric atmosphere in Rio ahead of the 'final' and the home crowd fully expected to see their nation crowned champions.

But Uruguay beat the red-hot favourites 2-1 to take the Jules Rimet Trophy, as it was now officially known, back to South America.

Since then Uruguay's best performance came at Mexico in 1970 when they reached the semi-finals, but lost to eventual winners Brazil.

Five times they have failed to qualify for the World Cup, and their participation in Korea and Japan in 2002 will be their first since 1990.

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GROUP A
  P GD PTS
DENMARK 3 +3 7
SENEGAL 3 +1 5
URUGUAY 3 -1 2
FRANCE 3 -3 1

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