by Melis Hazal Degirmencioglu
The World Cup, an international male soccer competition, is an event where soccer players and fans come together from six continents to celebrate the unity of sport. It is an exciting time for everyone from die-hard soccer lovers to casual sports enthusiasts, but its history is particularly fascinating. Since the first tournament in 1930, it has been held every four years, except for the years 1942 and 1946, during World War II.
FIFA had organized an Olympic soccer tournament since the 1920s, but it was only open to amateur players. FIFA President Julies Rimet saw the opportunity to open up World Cup seeing the popularity of the Olympic soccer tournaments. And the games played with his name for a while.
Uruguay was chosen as a host country since it was their 100th anniversary of independence. The European teams opposed this decision because of the distance between their countries and Uruguay but thanks to efforts of French Sport professional Rimet, four teams from Europe attended to the game which was Belgium, France, Romania, and Yugoslavia. In total thirteen teams from different parts of the World attended to the World Cup. Uruguay was the champion of World Cup in 1930 in its home court.
Since most European countries couldn’t attend the first World Cup in 1930, so they decided to host the second World Cup in Italy in 1934. This would also feature the first World Cup event in Europe. For protesting purposes, Uruguay didn’t attend the 1934 FIFA World Cup because it was more popular than the 1930 FIFA World Cup. Italy won the 1934 FIFA World Cup thanks to the good management of Vittorio Pozzo who was their coach in that period and also of home court advantage. However, it was also suspicious due to the fascist administration in Italy, who was accused of conviction of the cup.
The World Cup in France in 1938 was announced as the first official game. The events leading up this 1938 FIFA World Cup was very intriguing in a political sense. In this World Cup, Uruguay was still protesting about the 1934 incident and decided to not show up in 1938 as well, but that was not the most interesting political affair during the 1938 World Cup.
1938 was a prime year as Italy and Germany were trying to spread their fascist ideals. Especially after the 1936 Olympics when the African American U.S. Olympians, Jesse Owen won 4 medals held in Nazi Germany, disproving Hitler's race theory.
During the 1938 FIFA World Cup, 12 countries from Europe, Asia, South America, and Central America participated. In details From Europe including Belgium, Czechoslovakia, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Sweden, and Switzerland, from South America: Brazil, from Central America: Cuba, and from Asia: India Antilles, current day Indonesia. Austria was not able to participate in the World Cup officially in 1938 since Germany had already occupied Austria and forced its players to put on Nazi uniform for Germans' team. However, similar to the 1936 Olympics, Hitler's plan did not work. Germany was eliminated by Switzerland in the first round. However, Italy was able to hold out until the last round and became the winner of the 1938 FIFA World Cup. Of course, the Italians were able to help Germany to gain a bit of fascist win, but it was actually Vittorio Pozzo who had a lot of contribution to the Italian team. He holds the title of the only coach in the history of FIFA World Cups to bring his team to glory in 2 World Cup tournaments.
After the crazy political tournament of 1938, World Cup was then canceled during 1942 and 1946 due the World War 2. The 1950 FIFA World Cup resumed in 1950 in Brazil where Uruguay participated.