Today I realized that the most anticipated sporting event in the world is approaching in just one, lousy, unbearably long month. No, it’s not the Stanley Cup Finals. No, it’s not the NBA Finals. No, it’s not the UEFA Champions League, and it most certainly isn’t the Blue Jays’ inter-league date with the Colorado Rockies.
The World Cup of football is upon us, my friends. Once every four years, this entire planet hovers around whatever television sets, radio or internet connections they can find to see who will earn the title of best footballing nation in the world. This year’s world cup begins on June the 11th, but I can’t seem to contain my excitement any longer; I NEED to talk about this tournament.
Before I give you any audacious predictions, though, it’s important to take a look back into the ghost of world cup past, considering that history is the basis for anything that is happening in the present. What would have happened if Baggio could take that penalty again? What would have happened if Beckham didn’t see red in 98? What if John Terry wasn’t a bastard?
The flip side to the answer of all of these questions is a very interesting concept to ponder. History is an important thing, people, and it most certainly should not be forgotten. That is why I have decided to enlighten you on the history of the world cup from beginning to end. It all started in Uruguay.
Before I get into what happened in the tournament, let’s take a look at some important world events of 1930:
Things That Happened In 1930:
- Mickey Mouse made his first comic strip appearance
- 3M begain marketing scotch tape
- Twinkies were invented
- The BBC radio service reported ‘that there is no news’ on April the 18th
- Turkish women were given the right to vote
- Europeans were 38% of the world population
1930 was also the year that the very first world cup of football was held in the month of July, as opposed to the June that we have become accustomed to in recent history. The format was a little bit different, considering the fact that there weren’t as many teams willing to participate. There were no entries from any European teams until two months prior to the tournament when Yugoslavia and Romania decided to make the journey across the ocean.
Remember, this is at a time when people travelled worldwide by boat, so it would’ve taken a month or two to get to Uruguay from Europe. Imagine not being able to bathe for two months. Then imagine not being able to shave for two months. Also imagine hundreds of people around you not being able to do so either.
I imagine the boat smelled like a pair of underwear with six month old skid marks that have been soaked in vinegar and urinated upon and covered in cheese… not that I’d know anything about how that smells, or anything…
Eventually, 13 teams participated in the inaugural world cup, with 7 from South America (Uruguay, Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Paraguay), 4 from Europe (Yugoslavia, Romania, France, Belgium), and 2 from North America (United States, Mexico). The teams were divided up into four groups, with the winner of each group advancing to the semi-final stage.
Random Facts About The Tournament:
- Lucien Laurent of France was the first man to ever get on the score sheet with a goal against Mexico
- Mexico was awarded the first ever penalty in World Cup history in their group match against Argentina
- Placido Gallindo of Uruguay was the first man to be given a red card in the tournament
- The first hat-trick in world cup history was scored by Bert Patenaude of the United States against Paraguay (USA! USA! USA!)
- The final between Argentina and Uruguay was a rematch of their 1928 Olympic gold medal match
- Guillermo Stabile of Uruguay won the golden boot with 8 goals in four matches
Hosts Uruguay eventually won the tournament with a 4-2 victory over Argentina in the final, in what started something that I don’t think anyone imagined would turn into the massive world event that it is known as today.
Until next time, keep on rockin’ in a free world and do do do loo do…
Also check out: Zan Rathore’s Sports Blog