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The World Cup

uruguay final 1930 documental perdido muchos anos y remasterizado por fifa official film of the 1930 

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From humble beginnings, the World Cup is todays most-watched sporting event.

MTBWorldCup2-2012-GouldFit seemed as if the eyes of the world were trained on South Africa last summer as the nation hosted the 2010World Cup, that assumption would be correct. Held every four years, the international championship soccer tournament dwarfs both the World Series and the Super Bowl as the most-watched sporting event of the year.

According to some calculations, about 26 billion people tune din at some point during the 2010 tournament; about 700 million  people watched Spains amazing victory in the final game, and more than 300,000 fans actually traveled to South Africa to watch the tournament live.

Its hard to imagine, given the frenzy that surrounds football (as soccer is known outside of  the United States), that the beginnings of the World Cup were quite humble, started because soccer had been dropped from the Olympics.

Following the1928 summer Olympics in Amsterdam, Olympic organizers decided that soccer would not be on the program for the1932 Los Angeles summer games. The international governing organization of soccer, FIFA (Federation International e de Football Association) organized its own tournament, which was scheduled for July of 1930, and the event was called the World Cup. Montevideo, Uruguay was chosen as the host city, to honor Uruguay, the team that had won the 1928 Olympic gold medal.

As amateur athletes, the soccer players back then didnt get paid to play. Europe, at the time, was in the grip of a terrible economic depression, and many European players either couldnt leave their real jobs to spend two weeks in Uruguay, or couldnt afford to make the trip. As a result, many of Europes best teams were not able to compete in the tournament.

Spain, Italy, Germany, Holland and England winner of three Olympic gold medals  all opted not to participate in the tournament. When Uruguay agreed to help pay for some of the teams travel expenses, Romania, Belgium, France and Yugoslavia agreed to attend.

On July 13, 1930, the first true World Cup began with France facing off against Mexico and the United States playing Belgium.  The two opening matches were played simultaneous lay at separate venues in Montevideo.  France defeated Mexico4-1; the United States beat Belgium 3-0. Lucien Laurent, a player on the French team, scored the first-ever World Cup goal.

Two weeks later, on July 30, 1930, some 93,000 spectators gathered to watch Uruguay and Argentina face each other for the first World Cup final. The game was are-match of the 1928 Olympics, when Uruguay had defeated Argentina for the gold medal.  Uruguay successfully defended that gold medal, beating Argentina 4-2 and becoming the first World Cup champions.

The World Cup has been held every four years since that first tournament in 1930, except for during World War II, when the tournament was suspended.  Today, teams spend three years qualifying for the World Cup, where the top 32 teams meet in the host city to be eliminated during nearly a month of matches, called finals, until the top two teams face off for the championship.

Of the 19 World Cups that have been played over the past 81 years, just 8 teams have won the championship: Brazil (5), Italy (4), Germany (3), Argentina (2), Uruguay (2) and England, France and Spain who have each won once.

Brazil is the only nation to have competed in all 19 World Cups, and will host then ext World Cup in 2014.

New York Post, July 13, 2011
Written by: Robin Wallace

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