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Which country hosted the first World Cup?

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Infographic - First World Cup 2030 host country and participating nations

Uruguay hosted the first FIFA World Cup in 1930.

The tournament was held between July 13th – July 30th in the capital city of Montevideo. The finals were played between Uruguay and their big rival, Argentina. Uruguay won 4-2 and became the first country to lift the FIFA World Cup.

FIFA was founded in 1904, and it was Jules Rimet, the FIFA President who took the initiative to launch a world competition outside of the Olympic Games. Football was included as part of Olympic Games in the 1908 London Games, but it was only in 1914 that FIFA recognized the Olympic Games as a world competition and decided to manage the event during 1920, 1924 and 1928 Summer Olympic Games.

After much deliberation with various football bodies, it was decided to organize a football world championship outside of the Olympic Games. The decision was made to hold the first FIFA World Cup in 1930, and Uruguay was chosen as the host nation, having won the 1924 and 1928 Olympic Gold medals. All Matches were played in Montevideo, the capital city.

The first FIFA World Cup was an invitational tournament, but many countries were reluctant to send their teams to South America given the cost. Finally, 13 countries agreed to send their teams to play the first World Cup:

South America

  • Uruguay
  • Argentina
  • Brazil
  • Bolivia
  • Chile
  • Peru
  • Paraguay


  • France
  • Belgium
  • Romania
  • Yugoslavia

North, Central America, and the Caribbean

  • USA
  • Mexico

The 13 teams were divided into 4 Groups:

Group 1 Group 2
Argentina Brazil
Chile Bolivia
Mexico Yugoslavia
Group 3 Group 4
Uruguay USA
Peru Belgium
Romania Paraguay

The Matches

A total of 18 matches were played with 70 goals being scored in all. Uruguay was the strongest team during that period having won the Gold medal in the 1924 and 1928 Summer Olympics.

In this tournament too, Uruguay came out with a strong performance having the best net score in its favor. Argentina scored the maximum goals – 18 but had 9 goals scored against them. Uruguay scored only 15 goals, and only had 3 goals against them.

The Road to Semi Final

The four teams reaching the semi-final stage were Uruguay, Argentina, USA, and Yugoslavia. In the first semi-final, Argentina took on USA and Uruguay clashed with Yugoslavia.

Argentina vs. the USA

Argentina was captained by Manuel Ferreira, and Tom Florie was the coach/manager of team USA. In the Group stage, Argentina beat France 1-0; Mexico 6-3; Chile 3-1, to qualify for the semi-final.

The USA beat Belgium 3-0, and Paraguay 3-0 to qualify for the semi-final.

The US faced tough competition from Argentina, one of the strongest teams in South America. The match was expected to be a close contest, but Argentina dominated the match giving USA little room to maneuver. The game ended with Argentina beating USA 6-1, and became the first team to qualify for the first FIFA World Cup final. The goal scorers for Argentina were – Luis Monti (1), Alejandro Scopelli (1), Guillermo Stabile (1), Carlos Peucelle (1). Jim Brown scored the only goal for the USA.

Uruguay vs. Yugoslavia

Uruguay was captained by Jose Nasazzi, and Milutin Ivkovic led Yugoslavia. On the way to the semi-final, Yugoslavia beat Brazil 2-1, and Bolivia 4-0. Uruguay beat Peru 1-0, and Romania 4-0 to reach the last four stage.

The semi-final match was between two strong teams. Uruguay being the hosts had vociferous local support, but Yugoslavia had been playing tenacious football on their way to the semi-final. It was expected to be a stellar match, but the two time Olympic Champions were in no mood to relent. They crushed Yugoslavia 6-1, an identical score with the earlier match between Argentina and USA. The final was going to be a South American affair. The goal scorers for Uruguay were Pedro Cea (3), Juan Anselmo (2), Victoriano Iriarte (1). Djordje Vujadinovic scored the lone goal for Yugoslavia.

The Final – July 30th, 1930

The most anticipated final in football was played at the Estadio Centenario stadium before 80,000 football fans, which included 30,000 from Argentina.

Uruguay stepped on the field with confidence, having beaten Argentina two years earlier in the 1928 Summer Olympic Games final. The first half saw Argentina dominate the local team, but soon Uruguay fought their way back into the game. Uruguay won 4-2 and claimed the first FIFA World Cup. Goal scorers for Uruguay were Pablo Dorado (1), Pedro Cea (1), Victoriano Iriarte (1), Hector Castro (1). Interesting note, Hector Castro was a one-armed player having lost an arm in an accident in his younger days.

The Top 5 goal scorers in the tournament were – Guillermo Stabille (Argentina) – 8 goals; Pedro Cea (Uruguay) – 5 goals; Bert Patenaude (USA) – 4 goals; Juan Anselmo (Uruguay) – 3 goals, Preguinho (Brazil) – 3, Ivica Bek (Yugoslavia) – 3, Carlos Peucelle – 3.

The team goals scorecard

Team     Goals For     Goals Against
Argentina 18 9
Uruguay 15 3
Yugoslavia 7 7
USA 7 6
Brazil 5 2
Chile 5 3
Mexico 4 13
France 4 3
Romania 3 5
Paraguay 1 3
Peru 1 4

Visit the following to learn more about World Cup Football:

*Note – Some of the images used in Infographic are sourced from Wikipedia.

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