The First World Cup Soccer Ball

jules rimet

1930 World Cup Soccer Ball of “Tiento”

first world cup soccer ball

One of the two soccer balls used in the first 1930 World Cup final between Argentina and Uruguay is shown above, this was the first world cup soccer ball. This leather football was used in the final match and taken by an Uruguayan team player. It may have even played a part in the outcome of the first world cup in 1930.  Argentina and Uruguay could not agree on which ball to use.  So they decided to use an Argentinean ball the first half and a ball supplied by Uruguay the second half.  As it turned out, Argentina was ahead at halftime 2-1.  However; Uruguay came back to win the match in the second half 4-2 using their ball!

Uruguay hosted the first world cup tournament in 1930.   

uruguay 1930 world cup

Uruguay 1930 World Cup Team Picture

Uruguay won the first world cup tournament in 1930.  The first world cup soccer ball ball shown in the picture above is in much better shape than the one shown above!

The final between the South American rivals lived up to billing. Each side held the lead for stretches in the first half, but Uruguayan striker Pedro Cea equalized at 2-2, 12 minutes into the second half. Victoriano Santos Iriarte scored the game-winner for Uruguay in the 68th minute, and Hector Castro’s strike in injury time sealed the victory, setting the final score at 4-2 in favor of Uruguay.

us soccer team 1930

Back Row: Left to Right: Bob Millar (Coach), Jimmy Gallagher, Alexander Wood, Jimmy Douglas, George Moorhouse, Ralph Tracy, Andy Auld, Jack Coll (Physician). Front Row: Left to Right: Jim Brown, Billy Gonsalves, Bert Patenaude, Tom Florie, Bart McGhee.

The 1930 World Cup United States soccer team qualified for the semifinals.

The United States team consisted of the same lineup for all three games: goalkeeper Jimmy Douglas of the New York Nationals, right back Alexander Wood of Detroit Holley Carburetor, outside left Bart McGee (NY Nationals), center back Raphael Tracey (St. Louis Ben Millers), left halfback Andy Auld (Providence Gold Bugs), inside left Tom Florie (the captain, New Bedford Whalers), center forward Bert Patenaude (Fall River Marksmen), inside right Billy Gonsalves (Fall River Marksmen), and outside right James Brown (NY Giants). George Moorehouse played both fullback and wing forward.  He played in the original American Soccer League from 1923-1931, mostly for the New York Giants. Jimmy Gallagher played both wing half and wing forward.  He also played for the original American Soccer League, from 1921-1931, for several different teams. 

1930 world cup game

The US stunned Belgium in their opening match, winning 3-0. The first goal was scored by Bart McGhee in the 40th minute off a rebound from the crossbar after a Gonsalves shot. There is some dispute as to whether this was actually the first goal of this first World Cup tournament. FIFA had determined some years later that the first goal was actually scored by Lucien Laurent of France. McGhee followed this with another goal just before halftime when Belgium paused, waiting for an offside whistle, leaving McGhee open in front of the net. Florie got the final goal in the second half. Four days later, the US shut out Paragray 3-0. Their successful run came to a sudden end in the semifinals, when Argentina knocked out the Americans decisively in a 6-1 thrashing.

This game was complicated by the US goalkeeper twisting his ankle early in the game, forcing him to play the final 80 minutes practically on one leg, and a serious leg injury suffered by midfielder Tracey, leaving the US with ten men for the second half. The US prevented a shutout with a goal by Brown in the 89th minute. Ultimately, Uruguay beat Argentina 4-2 for the trophy. Despite the disappointing end, this was still a great run for the Americans in their first World Cup, one that would remain unequaled until it’s historic performance in 2002. Group 4 saw the USA produce the best results they would see in a World Cup in the century, as they the won the group after a pair of 3-0 wins over Belgium and Paraguay.

Information from Dave Litterer at American Soccer History Archives

Pictures graciously provided by the 1930 World Cup Football Museum.  

Back to Soccer Ball World’s History of the Soccer Ball

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