The FA Cup known as The Football Association Challenge Cup, is an annual knockout football competition in men's domestic English football. First played during the 1871–72 season, it is the oldest national football competition in the world, it is named after The Football Association. For sponsorship reasons, from 2015 through to 2019 it is known as The Emirates FA Cup. A concurrent women's tournament is held, the FA Women's Cup; the competition is open to any eligible club down to Level 10 of the English football league system – all 92 professional clubs in the Premier League and the English Football League, several hundred "non-league" teams in Steps 1 to 6 of the National League System. A record 763 clubs competed in 2011–12; the tournament consists of 12 randomly drawn rounds followed by the final. Entrants are not seeded, although a system of byes based on league level ensures higher ranked teams enter in rounds – the minimum number of games needed to win, depending on which round a team enters the competition, ranges from six to fourteen.
The first six rounds are the Qualifying Competition, from which 32 teams progress to the first round of the Competition Proper, meeting the first of the 48 professional teams from Leagues One and Two. The last entrants are the Premier League and Championship clubs, into the draw for the Third Round Proper. In the modern era, only one non-league team has reached the quarter-finals, teams below Level 2 have never reached the final; as a result, significant focus is given to those "minnows" who progress furthest if they achieve an unlikely "giant-killing" victory. Winners receive the FA Cup trophy, of which there have been five actual cups. Winners qualify for the Europa League and a place in the FA Community Shield match. Chelsea are the current holders. Arsenal are the most successful club with 13 titles. Arsène Wenger is the most successful manager in the history of the competition, having won seven finals as manager of Arsenal. In 1863, the newly founded Football Association published the Laws of the Game of Association Football, unifying the various different rules in use before then.
On 20 July 1871, in the offices of The Sportsman newspaper, the FA Secretary C. W. Alcock proposed to the FA committee that "it is desirable that a Challenge Cup should be established in connection with the Association for which all clubs belonging to the Association should be invited to compete"; the inaugural FA Cup tournament kicked off in November 1871. After thirteen games in all, Wanderers were crowned the winners in the final, on 16 March 1872. Wanderers retained the trophy the following year; the modern cup was beginning to be established by the 1888–89 season, when qualifying rounds were introduced. Following the 1914–15 edition, the competition was suspended due to the First World War, did not resume until 1919–20; the 1922–23 competition saw the first final to be played in the newly opened Wembley Stadium. Due to the outbreak of World War II, the competition was not played between the 1938–39 and 1945–46 editions. Due to the wartime breaks, the competition did not celebrate its centenary year until 1980–81.
Having featured replays, the modern day practice of ensuring the semi-final and final matches finish on the day, was introduced from 2000 onwards. Redevelopment of Wembley saw the final played outside of England for the first time, the 2001–2006 finals being played at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff; the final returned to Wembley in 2007, followed by the semi-finals from 2008. The competition is open to any club down to Level 10 of the English football league system which meets the eligibility criteria. All clubs in the top four levels are automatically eligible. Clubs in the next six levels are eligible provided they have played in either the FA Cup, FA Trophy or FA Vase competitions in the previous season. Newly formed clubs, such as F. C. United of Manchester in 2005–06 and 2006–07, may not therefore play in the FA Cup in their first season. All clubs entering the competition must have a suitable stadium, it is rare for top clubs to miss the competition, although it can happen in exceptional circumstances.
Manchester United did not defend their title in 1999–2000, as they were in the inaugural Club World Championship. The club stated that entering both tournaments would overload their fixture schedule and make it more difficult to defend their Champions League and Premier League titles; the club claimed. The move benefited United as they received a two-week break and won the 1999–2000 league title by an 18-point margin, although they did not progress past the group stage of the Club World Championship; the withdrawal from the FA Cup, drew considerable criticism as this weakened the tournament's prestige and Sir Alex Ferguson admitted his regret regarding their handling of the situation. Welsh sides that play in English leagues are eligible, although since the creation of the League of Wales there are only six clubs remaining: Cardiff City, Swansea City, Newport County, Merthyr Town and Colwyn Bay. In the early years other teams from Wales, Ireland a
Scotland national football team
The Scotland national football team represents Scotland in international football and is controlled by the Scottish Football Association. It competes in the three major professional tournaments, the FIFA World Cup, UEFA Nations League and the UEFA European Championship. Scotland, as a constituent country of the United Kingdom, is not a member of the International Olympic Committee and therefore the national team does not compete in the Olympic Games; the majority of Scotland's home matches are played at Hampden Park. Scotland is the joint oldest national football team in the world, alongside England, whom they played in the world's first international football match in 1872. Scotland has a long-standing rivalry with England, whom they played annually from 1872 until 1989; the teams have met only seven times since most in June 2017. Scotland have qualified for the FIFA World Cup on eight occasions and the UEFA European Championship twice, but have never progressed beyond the first group stage of a finals tournament.
The last major tournament they qualified for was the 1998 World Cup. The team have achieved some noteworthy results, such as beating the 1966 FIFA World Cup winners England 3–2 at Wembley Stadium in 1967. Archie Gemmill scored what has been described as one of the greatest World Cup goals in a 3–2 win during the 1978 World Cup against the Netherlands, who reached the final of the tournament. In their qualifying group for UEFA Euro 2008, Scotland defeated 2006 World Cup runners-up France 1–0 in both fixtures. Scotland supporters are collectively known as the Tartan Army; the Scottish Football Association operates a roll of honour for every player who has made more than 50 appearances for Scotland. Kenny Dalglish holds the record for Scotland appearances, having played 102 times between 1971 and 1986. Dalglish scored shares the record for most goals scored with Denis Law. Scotland and England are the oldest national football teams in the world. Teams representing the two sides first competed at the Oval in five matches between 1870 and 1872.
The two countries contested the first official international football match, at Hamilton Crescent in Partick, Scotland, on 30 November 1872. The match ended in a goalless draw. All eleven players who represented Scotland that day played for Glasgow amateur club Queen's Park. Over the next forty years, Scotland played matches against the other three Home Nations—England and Ireland; the British Home Championship began in 1883. The encounters against England were fierce and a rivalry developed. Scotland lost just two of their first 43 international matches, it was not until a 2–0 home defeat by Ireland in 1903 that Scotland lost a match to a team other than England. This run of success meant that Scotland would have topped the Elo ratings, which were calculated in 1998, between 1876 and 1904. Scotland won the British Home Championship outright on 24 occasions, shared the title 17 times with at least one other team. A noteworthy victory for Scotland before the Second World War was the 5–1 victory over England in 1928, which led to that Scotland side being known as the "Wembley Wizards".
Scotland played their first match outside the British Isles in 1929. Scotland continued to contest regular friendly matches against European opposition and enjoyed wins against Germany and France before losing to the Austrian "Wunderteam" and Italy in 1931. Scotland, like the other Home Nations, did not enter the three FIFA World Cups held during the 1930s; this was because the four associations had been excluded from FIFA due to a disagreement regarding the status of amateur players. The four associations, including Scotland, returned to the FIFA fold after the Second World War. A match between a United Kingdom team and a "Rest of the World" team was played at Hampden Park in 1947 to celebrate this reconciliation; the readmission of the Scottish Football Association to FIFA meant that Scotland were now eligible to enter the 1950 FIFA World Cup. FIFA advised that places would be awarded to the top two teams in the 1950 British Home Championship, but the SFA announced that Scotland would only attend the finals if Scotland won the competition.
Scotland won their first two matches, but a 1–0 home defeat by England meant that the Scots finished as runners-up. This meant that the Scots had qualified by right for the World Cup, but had not met the demand of the SFA to win the Championship; the SFA stood by this proclamation, despite pleas to the contrary by the Scotland players, supported by England captain Billy Wright and the other England players. The SFA instead sent the Scots on a tour of North America; the same qualification rules were in place for the 1954 FIFA World Cup, with the 1954 British Home Championship acting as a qualifying group. Scotland again finished second, but this time the SFA allowed a team to participate in the Finals, held in Switzerland. To quote the SFA website, "The preparation was atrocious"; the SFA only sent 13 players to the finals though FIFA allowed 22-man squads. Despite this self-imposed hardship in terms of players, the SFA dignitaries travelled in numbers, accompanied by their wives. Scotland lost 1–0 against Austria in their first game in the finals, which prompted the team manager Andy Beattie to resign hours before the game against Uruguay.
Uruguay were reigning champions and had never before lost a game at the World Cup finals, they defeated Scotland 7–0. The 1958 FIFA World Cup finals saw Scotland draw their first game against Yugoslavia 1–1, but they lost to Paraguay and France and went out at the first stage. Matt Busby had been due to manage the team at the World Cup, but the severe injuries he suffered in the Munich air disaster
UEFA Cup Winners' Cup
The UEFA Cup Winners' Cup was a football club competition contested annually by the most recent winners of all European domestic cup competitions. The cup was one of the many inter-European club competitions that have been organised by the Union of European Football Associations; the first competition was held in the 1960–61 season — but not recognised by the governing body of European football until two years later. The final tournament was held in 1998 -- 99. From 1972 onwards, the winner of the tournament progressed to play the winner of the European Cup in the UEFA Super Cup. Since the abolition of the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, the UEFA Super Cup place reserved for the Cup Winners' Cup winner has been taken by the winner of the UEFA Cup, now UEFA Europa League; the competition's official name was the European Cup Winners' Cup. Throughout its 39-year history, the Cup Winners' Cup was always a straight knock-out tournament with two-legged home and away ties until the single match final staged at a neutral venue, the only exception to this being the two-legged final in the competition's first year.
In common with other UEFA club tournaments, the away goal applied. The format was identical to the original European Champions' Cup with 32 teams contesting four knock-out rounds prior to the showpiece final, with the tournament running from September to May each year. Following the influx of new UEFA member nations during the 1990s, a regular August preliminary round was added to reduce the number of entrants to 32. Entry was restricted to one club from each UEFA member association, the only exception being to allow the current Cup Winners' Cup holders to enter alongside their nation's new domestic cup winners in order to allow them a chance to defend their Cup Winners' Cup title. However, if this team qualified for the European Champions' Cup they would default on their place in the Cup Winners' Cup and no other team would replace them. On occasions when a club completed a domestic league and cup'double' that club would enter the European Cup/UEFA Champions League and their place in the Cup Winners' Cup would be taken by the domestic cup runners-up.
In 1998–99, the competition's final year, Heerenveen of the Netherlands entered the Cup Winners' Cup despite only reaching the semi-final of the previous season's Dutch Cup. This was due to both Dutch Cup finalists Ajax and PSV Eindhoven qualifying for the expanded Champions League. Mirroring the circumstances behind the creation of the European Cup five years earlier, the idea for a pan-European cup competition contested by all of Europe's domestic cup winners came from prominent European sports journalists; the European Cup had proven to be a great success and the Fairs Cup had proven popular – as a result, other ideas for new European football tournaments were being aired. One proposal was for a tournament based upon the format of the European Cup, but with national cup winners rather than league champions taking part, which could run alongside that competition; the inaugural Cup Winners' Cup was held in the 1960–61 season and was a semi-official pilot tournament. However the initial reaction to the competition's creation was unenthusiastic on the part of many of Europe's top clubs – many European associations did not have domestic cup competitions at the time and in those countries that did, the cup competition was held in low esteem and not taken by the bigger clubs.
It was only in England, Scotland and to a lesser extent Germany and Spain that the domestic cup was considered prestigious. Many were sceptical about the viability of a European tournament for cup winners and many of the bigger clubs eligible to contest the first CWC turned down the chance to enter, such as Atlético Madrid of Spain and AS Monaco of France; the inaugural CWC was contested by just 10 clubs but the games were well attended and the response from the public and the media to the new tournament was positive and enthusiastic. For the tournament's second season in 1961–62, UEFA took over the running of all aspects of the competition and this time all the clubs eligible to enter accepted the opportunity. By 1968, all UEFA member nations had set up domestic cup competitions due to the success of the Cup Winners' Cup. UEFA regarded it as the second most prestigious competition, behind the European Cup and ahead of the Fairs Cup. Therefore, a team qualified for both the European Cup and the Cup Winners' Cup would play in the European Cup, whereas a team qualified for both the UEFA Cup and the Cup Winners' Cup would play in the Cup Winners' Cup.
Many commentators and fans regarded the Cup Winners' Cup as weaker than the UEFA Cup, which had more and better teams from the stronger European leagues. In the 1985–86 season, English clubs were banned from European competition as a result of Heysel Stadium disaster. Manchester United, Coventry City and Liverpool were prevented from competing in the Cup Winners' Cup until the beginning of the 1990–91 season. No club managed to retain the Cup Winners' Cup, although eight times a winning side followed up their victories with a losing appearance in the following season's final. After the establishment of the UEFA Champions League in the early 1990s, the standing and prestige of the Cup Winners' Cup began to decline. With th
A midfielder is an association football position. Midfielders are positioned on the field between their team's defenders and forwards; some midfielders play a disciplined defensive role, breaking up attacks, are otherwise known as defensive midfielders. Others blur the boundaries, being more mobile and efficient in passing: they are referred to as deep-lying midfielders, play-makers, box-to-box, or holding midfielders; the number of midfielders on a team and their assigned roles depends on the team's formation. Most managers assign at least one midfielder to disrupt the opposing team's attacks, while others may be tasked with creating goals, or have equal responsibilities between attack and defence. Midfielders are the players who travel the greatest distance during a match; because midfielders arguably have the most possession during a game they are among the fittest players on the pitch. Central or centre midfielders are players whose role is divided equally between attack and defence and to dominate the play around the centre of the pitch.
These players will try to pass the ball to the team's attacking midfielders and forwards and may help their team's attacks by making runs into the opposition's penalty area and attempting shots on goal themselves. When the opposing team has the ball, a central midfielder may drop back to protect the goal or move forward and press the opposition ball-carrier to recover the ball. A centre midfielder defending their goal will move in front of their centre-backs in order to block long shots by the opposition and track opposition midfielders making runs towards the goal; the 4–3–3 and 4–5–1 formations each use three central midfielders. The 4−4−2 formation may use two central midfielders, in the 4–2–3–1 formation one of the two deeper midfielders may be a central midfielder; the term box-to-box midfielder refers to central midfielders who are hard-working and who have good all-round abilities, which makes them skilled at both defending and attacking. These players can therefore track back to their own box to make tackles and block shots and run to the opponents' box to try to score.
The change of trends and the deviation from the standard 4–4–2 formation to the 4–2–3–1 formation imposed restrictions on the typical box-to-box midfielders of the 80s, as teams' two midfield roles were now divided into "holders" or "creators". Notable examples of box-to-box midfielders are Bastian Schweinsteiger, Yaya Touré, Radja Nainggolan. Left and right midfielders have a role balanced between attack and defence, similar to that of central midfielders, but they are positioned closer to the touchlines of the pitch, they may be asked to cross the ball into the opponents' penalty area to make scoring chances for their teammates, when defending they may put pressure on opponents who are trying to cross. Common modern formations that include left and right midfielders are the 4−4−2, the 4−4−1−1, the 4–2–3–1 and the 4−5−1 formations. Jonathan Wilson describes the development of the 4−4−2 formation: "…the winger became a wide midfielder, a shuttler, somebody who might be expected to cross a ball but was meant to put in a defensive shift."
Notable examples of wide midfielders are Ryan Giggs. The historic position of wing-half was given to midfielders, it became obsolete as wide players with defensive duties have tended to become more a part of the defence as full-backs. Defensive midfielders are midfield players; these players may defend a zone in front of their team's defence, or man mark specific opposition attackers. Defensive midfielders may move to the full-back or centre-back positions if those players move forward to join in an attack. Sergio Busquets described his attitude: "The coach knows that I am an obedient player who likes to help out and if I have to run to the wing to cover someone's position, great." A good defensive midfielder needs good positional awareness, anticipation of opponent's play, tackling, interceptions and great stamina and strength. A holding or deep-lying midfielder stays close to their team's defence, while other midfielders may move forward to attack; the holding midfielder may have responsibilities when their team has the ball.
This player will make short and simple passes to more attacking members of their team but may try some more difficult passes depending on the team's strategy. Marcelo Bielsa is considered as a pioneer for the use of a holding midfielder in defence; this position may be seen in the 4 -- 2 -- 3 -- 4 -- 4 -- 2 diamond formations. A defensive midfielder, or "destroyer", a playmaker, or "creator", were fielded alongside each other as a team's two holding central midfielders; the destroyer was responsible for making tackles, regaining possession, distributing the ball to the creator, while the creator was responsible for retaining possession and keeping the ball moving with long passes out to the flanks, in the manner of a more old-fashioned deep-lying playmaker or "regista". Early examples of a destroyer are Nobby Stiles, Herbert Wimmer, Marco Tardelli, while examples include Claude Makélélé and Javier Mascherano, although several of these players possessed qualities of other types of midfielders, were therefore not confined to a single role.
Early examples of a creator would be Gérson, Glenn Hoddle, Sunday Oliseh, while more recent examples Xabi Alonso, Michael Carrick. The latest and third type of holding midfielder developed as a box-to-box midfielder, or "carrier", neither destructive nor creative, capable of winning b
Tranmere Rovers F.C.
Tranmere Rovers Football Club is a professional association football club based in Birkenhead, England. Founded in 1884 as Belmont Football Club, they adopted their current name in 1885, they were a founder member of Division Three North in 1921, were a member of The Football League until 2015, when they were relegated to the National League, the fifth tier of English football. On 12 May 2018, they beat Boreham Wood in the 2017–18 National League playoff final to regain their status as a Football League member. During the 1980s, they were beset by financial problems and, in 1987, went into administration. However, this was a prelude to the most successful period in Tranmere's history. Under King's successor, John Aldridge, Tranmere experienced a number of cup runs, most notably reaching the 2000 Football League Cup Final. Other cup runs include reaching FA Cup quarter-finals in 2000, 2001 and 2004. Tranmere's regular kit is an all-white strip with blue trim, their main colours since 1962; the club moved to its current home, Prenton Park, in 1912.
In 1995, the ground had a major redevelopment in response to the Taylor Report. It now seats 16,567 in four stands: the Kop, the Johnny King Stand and the Cowshed. Tranmere Rovers were formed as Belmont Football Club when the football arms of two cricket clubs – Lyndhurst Wanderers and Belmont – came together in 1884. On 15 November 1884, they won their first game 4–0 against Brunswick Rovers; this was a friendly match, as there were no leagues until 1888. Under the presidency of James McGaul, the team had a successful inaugural season, losing only one of their fifteen matches. An unrelated, disbanded side had played under the name "Tranmere Rovers Cricket Club" in 1881–82. On 16 September 1885, before their second season began, Belmont F. C. adopted this name Tranmere Rovers. Tranmere played their first matches at Steeles Field in Birkenhead. In 1887, they bought Ravenshaws Field from Tranmere Rugby Club. In 1895, their ground was renamed Prenton Park, although it was 25 years that the team moved into the current stadium of the same name.
Tranmere first wore a kit of white shorts and blue socks. In 1889 they adopted maroon shirts, but in 1904 returned to wearing their original kit. In 1886, Tranmere entered their first competition: District Challenge Cup, they joined the Combination, a much stronger league, in 1897, won the championship in 1908. In 1910, continuing their movement through the leagues, they entered the Lancashire Combination and in 1912 they showed their ambition by moving to the present Prenton Park site, with an 800-seat stand. Tranmere won the Lancashire Combination Championship in 1914 and Stan Rowlands became the first Tranmere player to receive an international cap when he was selected to play for Wales. Rovers continued to play throughout the First World War, although their players were criticised for avoiding military service, despite being employed in the local shipyards. Following the expulsion of Leeds City Reserves in 1919, Tranmere were able to enter the Central League, their timing was excellent as the following season, four Central League clubs – including Tranmere – were invited to join the new Division Three North.
On 27 August 1921, as founder members of the division, they won their first Football League match 4–1 against Crewe Alexandra at Prenton Park. At this time the team were managed by Bert Cooke, who did so for 23 years in total, the club record for longest serving manager. In 1924, local youngster Dixie Dean made his debut aged 16 years 355 days, he played 30 games for Rovers, scoring 27 goals, before being transferred to Everton for £3,000. In the 1927–28 season, Dean scored a record 60 League goals for Everton. After Dean's departure, a string of talented youngsters left for Division One clubs, leading to Cooke's reputation as a shrewd businessman. Among those sold was Pongo Waring who – having scored six goals in the 11–1 victory over Durham City – went to Aston Villa for £4,700. Waring retains the record of scoring most goals for Villa in a single season. In 1934, an FA Cup tie between Rovers and Liverpool was watched at Anfield by 61,036 fans a record crowd for a game involving Rovers. One year Bunny Bell netted 57 goals during the 1933–34 season, nine goals in the 13–4 Boxing Day 1935 victory over Oldham Athletic.
As of 2011, the aggregate of 17 goals in one game remains a league record. During this same period, Tranmere made several appearances in the Welsh Cup, reaching the Final on two occasions. In 1934, they lost 3 -- 0 to Bristol City after a 1 -- 1 draw; the following season, they went one better by beating local rivals Chester 1–0 to win their first silverware since joining the Football League. Rovers won their first championship in the Football League in 1938 with victory in Division Three North and, promotion to Division Two for the first time, it is still Rovers' only championship in the Football League. However, they were relegated the next season winning six matches – the record for the worst performance of any team in Division Two. Prenton Park emerged from the Second World War unscathed. Tranmere rejoined the peacetime Football League in Division Three North and stayed there until the 1958 restructuring of the football league's lower divisions. Manager Peter Farrell led Tranmere to finish 11th in the final season of the Northern Section, securing a place in the new national Division Three where they were, founder members.
The final match against Wrexham fighting for a place in the higher league, attracted a crowd of 19,615, which remains t
FIFA World Cup
The FIFA World Cup simply called the World Cup, is an international association football competition contested by the senior men's national teams of the members of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association, the sport's global governing body. The championship has been awarded every four years since the inaugural tournament in 1930, except in 1942 and 1946 when it was not held because of the Second World War; the current champion is France. The current format of the competition involves a qualification phase, which takes place over the preceding three years, to determine which teams qualify for the tournament phase, called the World Cup Finals. After this, 32 teams, including the automatically qualifying host nation, compete in the tournament phase for the title at venues within the host nation over a period of about a month; the 21 World Cup tournaments have been won by eight national teams. Brazil have won five times, they are the only team to have played in every tournament; the other World Cup winners are Italy, with four titles each.
The World Cup is the most prestigious association football tournament in the world, as well as the most viewed and followed sporting event in the world, exceeding the Olympic Games. Brazil, Italy and Mexico have each hosted twice, while Uruguay, Sweden, England, Spain, the United States and South Korea, South Africa and Russia have each hosted once. Qatar are planned as hosts of the 2022 finals, 2026 will be jointly hosted by Canada, the United States and Mexico, which will give Mexico the distinction of being the first country to have hosted games in three finals; the world's first international football match was a challenge match played in Glasgow in 1872 between Scotland and England, which ended in a 0–0 draw. The first international tournament, the inaugural British Home Championship, took place in 1884; as football grew in popularity in other parts of the world at the start of the 20th century, it was held as a demonstration sport with no medals awarded at the 1900 and 1904 Summer Olympics, at the 1906 Intercalated Games.
After FIFA was founded in 1904, it tried to arrange an international football tournament between nations outside the Olympic framework in Switzerland in 1906. These were early days for international football, the official history of FIFA describes the competition as having been a failure. At the 1908 Summer Olympics in London, football became an official competition. Planned by The Football Association, England's football governing body, the event was for amateur players only and was regarded suspiciously as a show rather than a competition. Great Britain won the gold medals, they repeated the feat at the 1912 Summer Olympics in Stockholm. With the Olympic event continuing to be contested only between amateur teams, Sir Thomas Lipton organised the Sir Thomas Lipton Trophy tournament in Turin in 1909; the Lipton tournament was a championship between individual clubs from different nations, each one of which represented an entire nation. The competition is sometimes described as The First World Cup, featured the most prestigious professional club sides from Italy and Switzerland, but the FA of England refused to be associated with the competition and declined the offer to send a professional team.
Lipton invited an amateur side from County Durham, to represent England instead. West Auckland won the tournament and returned in 1911 to defend their title. In 1914, FIFA agreed to recognise the Olympic tournament as a "world football championship for amateurs", took responsibility for managing the event; this paved the way for the world's first intercontinental football competition, at the 1920 Summer Olympics, contested by Egypt and 13 European teams, won by Belgium. Uruguay won the next two Olympic football tournaments in 1924 and 1928; those were the first two open world championships, as 1924 was the start of FIFA's professional era. Due to the success of the Olympic football tournaments, FIFA, with President Jules Rimet as the driving force, again started looking at staging its own international tournament outside of the Olympics. On 28 May 1928, the FIFA Congress in Amsterdam decided to stage a world championship itself. With Uruguay now two-time official football world champions and to celebrate their centenary of independence in 1930, FIFA named Uruguay as the host country of the inaugural World Cup tournament.
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. Indeed, no European country pledged to send a team until two months before the start of the competition. Rimet persuaded teams from Belgium, France 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 on 13 July 1930, were won by France and the USA, who defeated Mexico 4–1 and Belgium 3–0 respectively. The first goal in World Cup history was scored by Lucien Laurent o