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Saturday, 22 August 2015

Bert Patenaude and the First World Cup Hat-trick

World Cup 1930 - Primer Campeonato Mundial de Futbol - Copa del Mundo 1930

Recently, the The Guardian posted an article on its website telling the story of the first World Cup hat-trick scored by American Bert Patenaude. The article explains how it took many decades before Fifa gave credit to the US forward, having previously listing Argentine forward, Guillermo Stabile, as the record holder, who scored three goals against Mexico in a 6-3 victory on the 19th July 1930. It was the work of Canadian historian and journalist, Colin Jose, whose research finally convinced Fifa to correct its records.

The article is one of many that can be found online that explains the story and I will post the links below. Patenaude scored his three goals against Paraguay on 17th July 1930 two days before Stabile scored his hat-trick. The research by Colin Jose revealed that the World Cup report written by team manager, Wilfred Cummings, noted that Patenaude gathered ''three markers that crashed against the rigging.'' It was also revealed that three team-mates of Patenaude (Billy Gonsalves, Arnie Oliver and James Brown) all credited him with all three goals. Jose also found match reports in Argentina's La Prensa (18 July 1930) and a United Press report published in Brazil's O Estado de Sao Paulo (18 July 1930) that supported the eye-witness accounts.

When Patenaude scored his three goals against Paraguay in their 3-0 victory, he had scored a total of fours goals having got of the mark in the Americans 3-0 victory over Belgium on the opening day of the tournament (13th July 1930). The Americans would reach the semi-finals, losing 6-1 to Argentina with James Brown getting the sole American goal.

So why have I written this blog when so much has been written about the first World Cup hat-trick. Firstly, there can never be enough written about Patenaude, especially when he didn't receive the credit in his own lifetime. And secondly, there is more evidence to support the claim.

Rony J Almeida's book, Where the Legend Began (2006), provides a review of the contemporary  match reports in the Uruguayan press. While Almeida never gave Patenaude credit for the hat-trick in his 2006 edition, he nonetheless provides evidence to support it. He lists La Tribuna Popular giving Patenaude three goals in its report of the match. The book notes that the scoring charts published in the July 22nd, 28th and 31st (1930) editions of El Diario list the American forward with four goals to his name. Four goals are also credited to the Fall River native in the scoring charts of the July 24th and 29th publications of Montevideo's El Bien Publico.

The official report, Primer Campeonato Mundial de Football, published by the Asociacion  Uruguaya de Futbol (AUF), list the scorers as McGhee (2) and Florie, on page 53, in its match report but on its final list of scorers (page 105), Patenaude is credited with four.

If further evidenced is required, the match report in Argentina's El Litoral (17 July 1930) describes Patenaude scoring his three goals in the 9th, 14th and 51st minute of the game. In the scoring charts of another Argentinian newspaper (El Orden, 29 July 1930) four goals are marked down by the American forwards name.

And finally, in the Argentina versus Mexico match reports found in Argentina's El Litoral (19 July 1930), Brazil's Diario de Noticias (20 July 1930), Folha da Mahna (20 July 1930), O Estado de Sao Paulo (20 July 1930) and Madrid's ABC (20 July 1930), none of them mention that Stabile's hat-trick was the first of the tournament. Indeed, they don't make much fuss of him scoring three goals at all.

Maybe it wasn't considered such an achievement at the time. Perhaps thats why it took so long for Patenaude to be honoured with the prestige as the first.

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