The FIFA World Cup is the pinnacle of global sport. It’s a spectacle unlike any other, a festival of football of such prestigious magnitude.

It’s hard to imagine a football world without the World Cup, and yet there was a time (admittedly a while ago now) where that was the case.

Here’s everything you need to know about the first World Cup, how the tournament came about and more.

The inaugural World Cup took place in 1930 in Uruguay.

Only 13 teams took part at the first edition – Uruguay, Argentina, USA, Yugoslavia, Chile, Brazil, France, Romania, Paraguay, Peru, Belgium, Bolivia and Mexico.

The nations were split into one group of four and three groups of three. The winners of those groups – Uruguay, Argentina, USA and Yugoslavia – advanced to the semi-finals.

Uruguay and Argentina both won 6-1 against Yugoslavia and USA respectively, with the tournament hosts emerging victorious in the final, beating La Albiceleste 4-2 in Montevideo.

The first World Cup ran for just over two weeks and was only held at three stadiums. Some group games drew crowds of little over 2,000, while the most-watched matches saw over 70,000 spectators.

Prior to 1930, football at the Summer Olympic Games was seen as the world championships of football. However, this was restrictive as only amateur players were allowed to compete.

When FIFA formed in 1904, they attempted to get a World Cup off the ground, and in 1928 they announced plans for the first tournament following efforts led by Jules Rimet (the man, not the trophy that would be named after him, obviously).

Uruguay were made hosts after winning gold at the 1924 and 1928 Olympics. They were joined in the tournament by the other 12 members of FIFA at the time.

England first joined FIFA in 1906 and were members when invites for the first World Cup were sent out in 1928. However, the two associations weren’t on the best of terms.

The Three Lions, as well as the other home nations, pulled out of the first three World Cups in a dispute over pay to amateur players.

England played at their first World Cup in 1950.


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