A Uruguayan historian once said: “Other countries have their history, Uruguay has its football.”
It is true that one of the few facts people know about Uruguay is that it was the host and winner of the inaugural World Cup.
The Uruguay soccer team of the early 20th century was the best in the world.
It had won Olympic gold in 1924 and 1928, before becoming world champions in 1930 by beating Argentina 4-2 in the final in Montevideo.
Having taken offense at the refusal by many European nations to travel all the way across the Atlantic Ocean for a soccer tournament, the world champions declined to defend its title at the 1934 World Cup.
Uruguay also did not enter the 1938 tournament, but finally returned for the 1950 World Cup in Brazil, which it won by beating the host nation in a dramatic final match.