Everyone is aware that the World Cup is the most popular sporting event in the world. It is also the most watched and you don’t need to be a soccer fan to know that. Soccer has become a universal love for every country and continues to grab the attention of newcomers to the sport. So, how did the World Cup come to be?
The creation of the World Cup started when the sport of soccer was left out of the 1932 Olympic program in Los Angeles. Jules Rimet, FIFA President, didn’t understand this and didn’t want to see the only international tournament for soccer fans just completely washed away. With that being said, he started to organize an international tournament for soccer fans to enjoy. The creation process started in 1930. The tournament would start in the summer of that year.
On this day, July 13th, in 1930, the World Cup saw its first gameplay occur. The host of the first tournament was Uruguay, who were the winners of back-to-back gold medals in the two Olympics prior to the event (1924 Paris Olympics and 1928 Amsterdam Olympics.) They only saw it fit to award Uruguay as host of the first World Cup with their continued success in the Olympics.
One thing that many people don’t realize is the difficulty they had in getting teams to make an appearance in the first World Cup. Some of soccer’s biggest countries couldn’t even make it, due to issues they were involved in as a nation. England, Spain, Germany and Holland would all miss the first World Cup due to depression in Europe. The depression scared many Europeans, who saw leaving for the World Cup as a threat to losing their jobs. However, Rimet did manage to get Belgium, France, Romania and Yugoslavia to make it after he agreed to assist in traveling expenses.
A cool little fact, the Romanian team was actually selected by their king, King Carol, and he gave the entire team a three month vacation from their job, as well as guaranteeing them a job when they returned from the World Cup.
At the start of the tournament, people were selecting Uruguay and Argentina as heavy favorites. The United States and France also held a chance at winning. The tournament was kicked off on July 13, 1930 with two matchups: France vs. Mexico (France wins 4-1) and the United States vs. Belgium (United States wins 3-0).
The first World Cup Final was held on July 30, 1930 in front of 93,000 spectators. The two teams were Uruguay and Argentina, the favorites to win it all. In a rematch of the 1928 gold medal game in the Olympics, Uruguay would reign victorious once again in a 4-2 defeat of Argentina. They would also win another World Cup in 1950.
Since then, the World Cup continues to gain worldwide interest and soccer continues to be the most popular sport worldwide. The next World Cup will take place in 2018 in Russia. The last World Cup was in 2014, which saw Argentina take home the honors.