The FIFA World Cup was first held in 1930, when FIFA, the world’s football governing body, decided to stage an international men’s football tournament under the era of FIFA president Jules Rimet who put this idea into place. The inaugural edition, held in 1930, was contested as a final tournament of only thirteen teams invited by the organization. Since then, the World Cup has experienced successive expansions and format remodeling, with its current 32-team final tournament preceded by a two-year qualifying process, involving over 200 teams from around the world.
International football before 1930
The beginnings of the World Cup
Cancellations due to World War II The first official international football match was played in 1872 in Glasgow between Scotland and England, although at this stage the sport was rarely played outside Great Britain.
By the twentieth century football had gained ground all around the world and national football associations were being founded. The first official international match outside the British Isles was played between Uruguay and Argentina in Montevideo in July 1902. The Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) was founded in Paris on 22 May 1904 – comprising football associations from France, Belgium (the preceding two teams having played their first national against each other earlier in the month), Denmark, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland, with Germany pledging to join.
1930, FIFA made the decision to stage their own international tournament. The 1932 Summer Olympics, held in Los Angeles, did not plan to include football as part of the programme due to the low popularity of the sport in the United States. FIFA and the IOC also disagreed over the status of amateur players, and so football was dropped from the Games. FIFA president Jules Rimet thus set about organizing the inaugural World Cup tournament. With Uruguay now two-time official world champions and due to celebrate their centenary of independence in 1930, FIFA named Uruguay as the host country. The national associations of selected nations were invited to send a team, but the choice of Uruguay as a venue for the competition meant a long and costly trip across the Atlantic Ocean for European sides. No European country pledged to send a team until two months before the start of the competition. Rimet eventually persuaded teams from Belgium, France, Romania, Hungary and Yugoslavia to make the trip. In total, 13 nations took part – seven from South America, four from Europe and two from North America.
The first two World Cup matches took place simultaneously, and were won by France and the United States, who beat Mexico 4–1 and Belgium 3–0, respectively. The first goal in World Cup history was scored by Lucien Laurent of France. Four days later, the first World Cup hat-trick was achieved by Bert Patenaude of the U.S. in the Americans’ 3–0 win against Paraguay. In the final, Uruguay defeated Argentina 4–2 in front of a crowd of 93,000 people in Montevideo to become the first nation to win a World Cup.