Held in July, shortly after the Wall Street Crash, the first finals in 1930 took place entirely in the Uruguayan capital Montevideo.
Because of travel difficulties, just 13 nations accepted an invitation to take part. Only four from Europe -- France, Belgium, Romania and Yugoslavia -- said yes, and all except the Yugoslavs boarded the Italian liner Conte Verde at Villefranche-sur-Mer in France for the long voyage across the Atlantic.
The teams trained on the boat during the two-week trip before joining Yugoslavia and the nine other South American teams in Montevideo.
The 13 competitors were split into four groups with the winners contesting the semi-finals.
Yugoslavia did the best of the Europeans nations by reaching the last four when they were soundly beaten 6-1 by Uruguay. In the other semi-final Argentina overhwhelmed the United States by an identical scoreline.
Uruguay, backed by a partisan crowd of 90,000 in the Centenario Stadium, beat the Argentines 4-2 in the final after being 2-1 down at half-time.
A public holiday was declared in Uruguay, but in Buenos Aires hostile fans attacked the Uruguayan embassy.
1930 WORLD CUP LEGENDS
Uruguay: b. 1900, d. 1970
Played in Uruguayan teams that won the 1924 and 1928 Olympic Games tournaments and the first World Cup in 1930.
Became known as the 'Olympic equaliser' by scoring equalising goals every time Uruguay were behind in these three tournaments. Scored a hat-trick in the 1930 World Cup semi-final 6-1 win over Yugoslavia and the second, equalising goal against Argentina in the final.
One of the few great inside-lefts who was not left-footed.
Argentina: b. 1906, d. 1966
Fast, scoring centre-forward whose eight goals in the 1930 World Cup were not bettered for 24 years.
Could have been an Olympic sprinter but chose soccer. Started as a winger as a 14-year-old for Huracan's fourth team. Five years later he scored 35 goals for the first team and in 1928 he helped Huracan to the Argentine title.
After scoring eight of Argentina's 18 goals in four matches in 1930 he was bought by Genoa who were then bottom of the Italian league and scored a hat-trick on his debut against league leaders Bologna.
Twice broke his right leg and after a short spell with Napoli he joined Red Star where he finished his playing career in 1938.
1930 WORLD CUP SCORERS
Guillermo Stabile (ARG) 8
Pedro Cea (URU) 5
Guillermo Subiabre (CHI) 4
Peregrino Anselmo (URU) 3
Carlos Peucelle (ARG) 3
Bert Patenaude (USA) 3
Peregrino (BRA) 3
Ivan Beck (YUG) 3
1930 WORLD CUP TRIVIA
- Six countries applied to stage the first tournament -- Italy, Hungary, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and eventual hosts Uruguay. Uruguay won the decision to host the first finals not least because they offered to pay the expenses of the competing countries.
- Teams from Great Britain could not be considered because they were not members of FIFA. They did not enter the competition until 1950.
- The earlier matches were played on local club grounds as the main Centenario Stadium was still unfinished. This was not used until the final stages.
- In the first World Cup match France beat Mexico 4-1. Lucien Laurent had the distinction of scoring the first World Cup goal.
- The first player to be sent off in the tournament was Peru captain Mario de las Casas in a Group Three match against Romania. Peru were beaten 3-1 before the lowest ever World Cup crowd of just 300 spectators.
- Argentina were the first nation to score six goals when they beat Mexico 6-3. Guillermo Stabile was the first player to score a hat-trick.
- During that game referee Saucedo of Bolivia awarded the first World Cup penalty. In fact, he awarded five, three of which were missed. The first player to miss from the penalty-spot was Fernado Paternoster of Argentina. First to score from a penalty was Manuel Rocquetas Rosas of Mexico.
- First World Cup final referee was John Langenus of Belgium.
- The first player to score in a World Cup final was Pablo Dorado of Uruguay. The first winning captain was Jose Nasazzi, with Alberto Supicci the first winning coach.
1930 WORLD CUP WINNING squad
Goalkeepers: Enrique Ballesteros, Miguel Capuccini
Defenders: Ernesto Mascheroni, Jose Nasazzi (capt), Domingo Tejera
Midfield: Jose Leandro Andrade, Fernandez Lorenzo, Alvaro Gestido
Forwards: Peregrino Anselmo, Hector Castro, Pedro Cea, Pablo Dorado, Santos Iriarte, Pedro Petrone, Hector Scarone, Santos Urdinaran
Coach: Alberto Suppici