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FIFA. Now, the organ-

ising country had to be

chosen. Hungary, Italy,

the Netherlands, Spain and

Sweden submitted their can-

didatures. Right from the start,

Uruguay was the favourite and

not simply for its Olympic gold

medal wins in 1924 and 1928 -

the country was celebrating its

100th anniversary of independence

in 1930 at great expense.

Moreover, its national associa-

tion was willing to cover

all the costs, including the travel and

accommodation of the participating

teams. Any possible profit would be

shared, while Uruguay would take

on the deficit. These arguments were

decisive. The FIFA Congress in Bar-

celona in 1929 assigned Uruguay as

first host country of the FIFA World

Cup ™. The other candidates had


With Europe in the midst of an eco-

nomic crisis, not everything went to

plan during the countdown to these

first finals. Participation did not only

involve a long sea journey for the

Europeans; the clubs would have to

renounce their best players for two

months. Consequently, more and

more associations broke their prom-

ise to participate and it took much

manoeuvring by Rimet to ensure at

least four European teams - France,

Belgium, Romania and Yugoslavia -

joined him on the Conte Verde liner

bound for Buenos Aires.

The first FIFA World Cup opened at

the brand-new Estadio Centenario in

Montevideo on 18 July 1930. It was