The world's first true champions. Uruguay won the inaugural World Cup after dominating the international football scene for the preceding decade. In these pre-World Cup days, the Olympics were the only global football event, and Uruguay won the football gold medal in both 1924 and 1928, which FIFA recognised as equivalent to a World Cup. This was made even more spectacular by the fact that both Olympic tournaments took place in Europe. As a result of these successes, Uruguay was the obvious option to host the inaugural World Cup.
Coach: Alberto Suppici
Trophies: World Cup (1930), 2 Olympic Gold Medals (1924 &1928)
Star Players: Jose Leandro Andrade, Jose Nasazzi, Hector Scarone, Pedro Cea, Hector Castro
Uruguay faced a more diverse set of opponents in the inaugural Copa America. Uruguay won the tournament with victories against Chile and Brazil, as well as a tie against Argentina. The following year, Uruguay hosted the tournament and won all of its games to retain the title. Uruguay's first defeat at the Copa América came in a 1–0 loss against Brazil in a playoff that extended to two periods of extra time, making it the longest Copa América match ever.
Uruguay made history by becoming the first South American team to compete in the Olympic Games in Paris in 1924. Uruguay, in contrast to the rugged style of the European teams of the time, played a style based on short passes and won every game, including the gold medal match, defeating Switzerland 3–0. Uruguay defended their championship at the 1928 Summer Olympics in Amsterdam, winning gold after defeating Argentina 2–1 in a rematch of the final (the first match was a draw after extra time). Uruguay was the premier football nation from 1924 through 1930, as evidenced by its Olympic victories.
The team's standout was the black defensive half-back Andrade, who captivated Parisian society. Uruguay's football character has been established throughout history as defensive and combative, yet not without some attacking flair. Scarone was principally responsible for this in 1930. Six countries applied to host the first FIFA World Cup, which was scheduled to take place in the middle of 1930. Uruguay, along with Italy, Hungary, the Netherlands, Spain, and Sweden, submitted a bid, claiming that they deserved to host the event as reigning two-time Olympic champions and since the country was celebrating its centennial anniversary that year. Although the decision to award the competition to the Uruguayans drew controversy and resulted in some countries withdrawing from the tournament, that argument proved compelling. They did so by winning all of their games and defeating Argentina 4-2 in the final. With memories still fresh of the gold-medal match in Amsterdam and their pivotal meetings in the Copa America contests of 1926 and 1927, those perfect runs set the stage for the next chapter in Argentina and Uruguay's rivalry, which had already lasted 28 years.
This was a remarkable achievement for a country with a population of fewer than 3 million people, and it began a tradition that saw them win the World Cup again in 1950, reach the semi-finals in 1970 and 2010, and produce world-class players like Schiaffino, Pedro Rocha, Enzo Francescoli, and Diego Forlan. This is a true football fairytale. The Uruguayan Football Association pushed other countries to boycott the 1934 World Cup in Italy in retaliation for several European teams' rejection to participate in the inaugural World Cup. Uruguay once again declined to compete in the 1938 World Cup since France was picked as the host, despite a previous agreement to alternating the championships between South America and Europe.