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On 30th July 1930 Uruguay won the inaugural soccer World Cup by beating Argentina 4-2 in the final, which was held, like all the matches, in Montevideo. On 30th July 1966 England beat West Germany in that year’s World Cup Final held at Wembley Stadium in London.

In 1928 FIFA (the football world governing body) decided in principal to hold a new tournament between all the member nations. A year later it was agreed that Uruguay, the Olympic champions and the era’s football superpower, should celebrate its 100 years of independence in 1930 by hosting the first ever World Cup.

Uruguay 1930

Only 13 nations took part in the inaugural tournament, with a majority of nine coming from South America and only four from Europe (Belgium, France, Yugoslavia and Romania). Most of the rest turned down their invitations either citing the three-week voyage to South America as prohibitive, but also probably because they objected to the fact that the tournament was not being played in Europe.

However England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, where soccer was still an amateur game, were all ineligible, having withdrawn from FIFA because of a dispute over payments to amateur players but several British players did find their way onto the United States team, where professional football was played.

Over 100,000 fans packed into the Centenario Stadium for the final on 30 July to see Argentina throw away a 2-1 half-time lead and Uruguay wining the match 4-2. A fitting celebration of the centenary of the country.

England 1966

On 30th July 1966 a crowd of 93,000 spectators – including the Queen and Prince Phillip – filled London’s Wembley Stadium to watch the host nation play West Germany in the final game of the 1966 World Cup. An estimated 400 million people around the world also watched the match on television.

The score at half time was 1-1 and it stayed that way until 13 minutes from full time when Martin Peters put England into the lead. However the Germans scored from a free kick just seconds from the final whistle to come back on level terms and the match went to extra time.

In the second period of extra time a dubious goal by Hurst – glanced off the line by Weber and only given after consultation between the Swiss referee and Soviet linesman – put England ahead before the striker’s third goal put the game out of Germany’s reach.

Hurst’s second goal and the decision of referee Gottfried Dienst have continued to be controversial but photographic technology has so far been unable to offer decisive evidence about whether or not the ball crossed the goal line.

England have failed to reach a World Cup Final since 1966 and did not even qualify for the last rounds of the tournament in the US in 1994.  As for the 2010 World Cup Finals – the least said about England’s dire performance the better.

See Also

Category: Historic Events

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