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A look back at the 1930 World Cup and Uruguay

Just days out from the latest chapter of the World Cup story, here's a look back at where it all began with the first tournament in 1930.

Uruguay were the hosts of the inaugural tournament and they were the team celebrating after securing victory over Argentina in the final.

A very different looking tournament

Compared to the 32 teams that will be competing for the trophy in Qatar this winter, just 13 teams took part in the 1930 tournament.

All the games took place in the Uruguayan capital of Montevideo, with the Estadio Centenario holding 90,000 spectators, the Estadio Gran Parque Central having a 20,000 capacity and the Estadio Pocitos just 10,000.

This was the first and only World Cup that had no qualification for the tournament. There were 16 places available but, with not all spots filled by the 28th February deadline, the competition proceeded with just 13 nations.

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Without an even number of teams, there were three groups of three sides, while Argentina, Chile, France and Mexico battled it out in a four-team group for the one qualifying place.

Argentina secured all three wins needed to go straight to the semi-finals, where they thrashed the USA 6-1 in Montevideo.

For Argentina, it was Guillermo Stabile who was the star of the show throughout the tournament, as he scored eight goals to finish as the first World Cup’s top goalscorer.

Uruguay also earned a 6-1 win of their own against Yugoslavia, with striker Pedro Cea bagging himself a hat-trick in the encounter.

An all-South American final was to come and Cea was to get on the scoresheet once again as Uruguay beat Argentina 4-2 at the Estadio Centenario to become the first world champions.

Uruguay had an excellent team at that time, having previously won the gold at the 1928 Summer Olympics in the Netherlands.

That too was a final between Uruguay and Argentina in which the first match ended in a 1-1 draw, before a replay which saw the Uruguayans come out on top 2-1 three days later in Amsterdam.

The success of Uruguay was not to end in 1930, as they managed to reclaim their title 20 years later at the 1950 World Cup in Brazil, beating the hosts 2-1 in the crucial match in Rio de Janeiro.

Uruguay's chances in Qatar

Fast-forward to the current day and the Uruguay squad head to Qatar with hope rather than expectation they can go all the way to win a third World Cup.

Head coach Diego Alonso has a squad full of talented players, many of whom play their football for some of Europe’s biggest clubs.

Uruguay, who are 40/1 to win the World Cup, boast players from Barcelona, Real Madrid, Liverpool and Manchester United in their ranks.

Meanwhile, their most prolific striker, Luis Suarez, has called time on his club career in Europe and is back in his homeland with Nacional.

Suarez looks set to play a key role for his country once again, with the former Liverpool and Barcelona striker 66/1 to finish as the competition’s top goalscorer.

Edinson Cavani will also have his eyes on the Golden Boot, with the Valencia striker at 80/1 to claim the prize.

Uruguay managed to reach the quarter-finals of the last World Cup in Russia four years ago, before they suffered a 2-0 defeat to the eventual champions France.

For the likes of Suarez, Cavani and skipper Diego Godin, this will be a last chance for World Cup glory before they hang up their boots.

Uruguay do have one of the more challenging groups ahead of them, as they face Portugal, Ghana and South Korea in Group H.

A win against the South Koreans in their opening game on 24th November in Al Rayyan would give Uruguay a massive boost and give them the much-needed momentum to progress through to the knockout stages.

Uruguay are 3/4 to win, 5/2 to draw their opening game at the Education City Stadium, while a South Korea victory is available at 4/1.

This Uruguay side has a wealth of experience and quality to potentially raise a few eyebrows in Qatar.

The current crop of players certainly have plenty of inspirational figures they can look back on from the heroes of 1930.

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