Analysis. History. Perspective.

Sports Then and Now

The World Cup Returns to its Roots

Posted on October 12, 2013 by Dennis Phoenix
The first World Cup was hosted by Uruguay, who also managed to win the 13 team tournament.

The first World Cup was hosted by Uruguay, who also managed to win the 13 team tournament.

Already the qualifying matches for the 2014 World Cup are underway. Around the world avid fans are cheering on their team hoping that by the end of next July their team will hoist into the air the most coveted trophy in all of sports. This competition marks the 20th World Cup with an estimated 3.3 million tickets available.

The 2014 World Cup will take place in Brazil next June and July. It will be the first time the Cup has been held in South America since Argentina hosted the competition back in 1978. Since the World Cup originated in South America, it is only fitting to discuss its humble beginnings which started with the original tournament in Uruguay in 1930.

During the 1920’s the Olympic Football Tournament met with success and became quite popular. As a result, FIFA became determined to organize a championship tournament of its own. Since Uruguay had won two Olympic Gold medals in 1924 and 1928, it was chosen as the site for the competition. Also in Uruguay’s favor was the fact that it was celebrating its 100th anniversary of independence in 1930.

It took quite a bit of effort to gain the interest of enough teams willing to put forth the money to travel at their own expense to Uruguay. The organizers also had to deal with other setbacks as well. However, 13 teams competed in that first ever international football tournament. It met with such success that it has taken place every four years since then with only a few cancellations during WW II. The World Cup tournament scheduled for  1942 was postponed and didn’t start up again until 1950.

Jules Rimet Cup

The original Jule Rimet Trophy was stolen in 1983 and melted down for gold.

The original Jule Rimet Trophy was stolen in 1983 and melted down for gold.

Jules Rimet, the original president of FIFA, was instrumental in organizing the first World Cup tournament. As such, he had the honor of having the original World Cup trophy named after him. This trophy led an interesting and ultimately tragic existence. During the Second World War the Cup was hidden in a shoebox under the bed of the Italian Vice President of FIFA in an effort to keep it out of the hands of occupying troops. Some years later in 1966, during a build up to the World Cup tournament in England, the Cup was stolen while on display. It was only by chance that the Cup was found the next day buried under a tree, thanks to the curious snout of a passing dog.

Unfortunately, the original Cup was stolen by thieves in 1983 and melted down for its gold.

World Cup Trophy

In 1970 the Brazilian Football Association won the World Cup tournament for the third time, thus earning the right to keep it permanently. For the 10th World Cup in 1974, FIFA commissioned a new trophy, simply named the World Cup Trophy. No country may win permanent possession of the trophy; however, each World Cup champion may keep the trophy until the next tournament.

The present trophy stands 36 cm tall and weighs in at just over 6 kilograms. It is made of solid 18 karat gold and includes two green bands of semi-precious malachite encircling the base. Engraved on the underside of the trophy are the name and year of each World Cup winner since 1974.


Dennis Phoenix is an avid sports fanatic and human resource specialist. He writes primarily on topics ranging from business relationships to famous trophies for Able Trophies, a supplier of  art glass awards and acrylic trophies. He spends his weekends watching sports or mountain biking.

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