1930 World Cup: When was the first World Cup played, and who won it?

1930 World Cup: When was the first World Cup played, and who won it?

Babu Tendu
updated at April 12, 2023 at 8:14 PM

Football started in time immemorial. However, the most famous tournament in football started in 1930. The tournament was set to involve representative national teams from different parts of the world. The football governing body, FIFA, made this competition to mark the start of the newly made football constitution. The 1930 World Cup host nation was Uruguay.

1930 world cup
A brief history of the FIFA World Cup, 1930. Who won it? Photo by Michael Buholzer. (Modified by author).
Source: Getty Images

Thirteen teams entered the competition, including two from North America, four from Europe, and seven from South America. Due to the difficulty of travelling to South America, only a few European teams decided to compete. The teams were split into four groups, and the group with the most points advanced to the semifinals.

When was the first soccer World Cup played?

The first FIFA World Cup for men, which took place in Uruguay from July 13 to July 30, was a game-changing event.

Where and when was the first World Cup played?

The first one was held in Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay, with the matches taking place in the Estadio Centenario, Estadio Pocitos, and Estadio Gran Parque Central stadiums.

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The Estadio Centenario, a 90,000-seat stadium constructed to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Uruguay's independence, served as the main venue for the first FIFA World Cup.

The Estadio Centenario dubbed the "temple of football" by Jules Rimet, played host to 10 of the 18 FIFA World Cup 1930 games, including the finals.

When was the first World Cup played, and who won?

The FIFA Congress officially decided to host its world football championships on May 28, 1928, in Amsterdam. The FIFA World Cup was inaugurated on this day.

To host the first edition, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, and Sweden all submitted bids; however, Uruguay ultimately won the hosting rights.

Where and when was the first World Cup played
The official match ball of the first FIFA World Cup in Uruguay, in 1930, displayed at the 3-2-1 Qatar Olympic and Sports Museum in the capital Doha, on October 2, 2022. Photo by Karim JAAFAR.
Source: Getty Images

In 1930, Uruguay commemorated its 100th year of independence, and the government was particularly interested in hosting the International Cup of football. After Uruguay won back-to-back gold medals at the Olympics in 1924 and 1928, the sport became incredibly well-liked in the nation.

The national football association of Uruguay was also prepared to pay for all costs, including the teams' travel and lodging. Uruguay offered to cover any deficits while sharing any potential profits. Uruguay was officially selected as the first FIFA World Cup host nation at the FIFA Congress in Barcelona in 1929.

The 1930 FIFA World Cup in Uruguay was an invitational competition, with all FIFA member nations invited to participate, as there were no qualifying rounds. It was the first and last time in the history of the FIFA World Cup that there were no qualifiers.

Who was the 1930 World Cup winner?

After finishing first in their respective groups, Argentina, Yugoslavia, Uruguay, and the USA advanced to the knockout stages. By identical scores of 6-1, Argentina and Uruguay thrashed Yugoslavia and the United States to set up the first-ever FIFA World Cup final.

When was the first soccer World Cup played?
The FIFA World Cup, Jules Rimet, won by Uruguay in 1930 and 1950, and the Webb Ellis Cup displayed at Football Museum on February 2nd 2018, in Montevideo, Uruguay. Photo by Agustin Marcarian.
Source: Getty Images

Because the two neighbouring nations already had a long-standing football rivalry, the final was a high-stakes contest. Just two years prior, Uruguay's men's football team defeated Argentina 2-1 in a rematch to win the 1928 Olympic gold medal. The first game had come to a 1-1 draw.

In 1930, Uruguay won the second leg 4-2 to become the first nation to win the FIFA World Cup. Raul Jude, the president of the Uruguayan Football Association, received the trophy from Rimet, later renamed the Jules Rimet Trophy in his honour. Uruguay made July 31st a national holiday in remembrance of the momentous victory.

Challenges of the first World Cup

Although teams from North and South America, including Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, and the United States of America, were eager to take part, it was extremely difficult to convince European teams to do the same, despite Uruguay's significant financial commitments.

When was the first World Cup played and who won?
1930: The victorious national team of Uruguay during the 1930 World Cup final in Uruguay. Photo by HULTON PICTURE.
Source: Getty Images

By the deadline in February 1930, no European team had accepted the invitation. The Great Depression, which led to economic hardships across the globe, was the main cause. Few players wanted to go so far and for so long because they were worried about losing their only reliable source of income.

The FIFA president at the time, Jules Rimet, intervened and personally persuaded Yugoslavia and his native France to send teams. German-Belgian FIFA vice president Rodolphe Seeldrayers persuaded Belgium.

Romania joined the effort after Carol II, the country's recently crowned monarch is said to have personally chosen the team. He bargained with their employers to ensure the players' jobs would still be there when they returned.

With this addition, the first tournament expanded to 13 teams, including hosts Uruguay and Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, the United States, France, Belgium, Romania, and Yugoslavia. To get to Uruguay, the European teams travelled there by large ships.

The first successfully organized World Cup was the 1930 World Cup. It was hosted in Uruguay as they were the champions of the 1928 Olympic competition. The World Cup has gone on since then, and the latest instalment will be the Qatar World Cup 2022.

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