History of the World Cup (Part 1)

Now that have learnt about/brushed up your memory on, the history of football, it is time to take your ability to appreciate the game a step further, by learning/remembering the history of the tournament itself.

Its beginnings..

Very intuitively, the FIFA World Cup tournament was only first held (so late) in 1930, when FIFA president Jules Rimet decided that the world's lack of an international men’s football tournament became too much for him and fellow-minded people to bear. This first edition, held in 1930, was a tournament comprising only 13 teams. Unsurprisingly, the World Cup has since then experienced successive expansions and format remodeling, resulting in its current 32-team final tournament preceded by a two-year qualifying process, involving over 200 teams from around the world.

The first country to host the World Cup was Uruguay

The first nation to host the world cup is not some country in Europe, but Uruguay. That had been the case, given the country's clinching of gold at the both the 1924 and 1928 Olympics for soccer, and the Latin American centenarian celebrations coinciding with the World Cup dates. This supposed international event ended up being a very local one however. The Great Depression meant that countries all over the world did not have the mood or cash to send their national teams all the way to South America - which makes sense when thinking about how transportation back then was so much more expensive and inconvenient (we see inconvenience as one of many economic drags). Less importantly, the English boycotted the tournament, believing that they were the ones who were the rightful hosts of the inaugural edition of arguably the most important sporting occasion.

Cancellations during the Second World War and the post-war period

Nazi Germany actually applied to host the world cup in 1936. Unfortunately for the world, the coming of the Second World War prevented the event from materializing. The war ended in 1945, but the world had to endure a painful wait for the resumption of the World Cup. According to the World Cup calendar, the next World Cup would need to be held in 1946, but the bankruptcy of FIFA (as a result of the war) again prevented such event from materializing....

The supposed beginning of the modern era

The year was 1950, and its significant lies in the fact that is conventionally held to be the year that marked the start of the modern era of the world cup. Why was it the modern era? It was the year in which the modern soccer ball was introduced.

On top of that, 1950 is also significant for it marked the start of the emergence of Brazil as a soccer powerhouse. What was meant by the Brazilians to bring the nation a historical moment of national pride, turned into a shattering defeat which in hindsight represented an asset far greater than the intended. The match of humiliation, termed the 'Fateful Final' resulted in a defeat by Uruguay in front of the 200,000 local fans in a match held in Rio de Janeiro's very own Maracana. This very humiliation fueled the start of a Brazilian obsession with the sport which launched into the very top of international standards.

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