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Sunday, 8 April 2018

Match Report - Chile vs Mexico (English translation from El Sol)

This is an English translation of the report of the Chile vs Mexico match that was played on the 16 July and appeared in the Spanish newspaper, El Sol, on the 17 July 1930 via the news-agency Associated Press. The first cable-gram reached the offices of the paper at 10 pm of the 16th and contained a mere twenty-seven words and providing the most basic of information. One hour later a more extensive report was dispatched to the Spanish daily.

Google was used to translate this report and is subject to imperfections. Spanish speakers are welcome to offer their opinions to help better translate this document where the original report can be read here.

Caution should be taken when excepting the details in this account even if it is written by an anonymous eyewitness. For example, this report states that Subiabre scored the first two goals with Vidal netting the third. Most Chilean sources list Vidal as scoring the first and third, while the second was an own goal.

El Sol, 17 July 1930

MONTEVIDEO 16 (10 n.) .- In the qualifying match for the world championship, played this afternoon between the national teams of Chile and Mexico, the Chileans won by three goals against zero.
(Associated Press.)

MONTEVIDEO 16 (11 n.). -The game played this afternoon by the national teams of Chile and Mexico has attracted little public, despite the great interest that aroused the performance of the Chilean players. This expectation for the game that the team from Chile would develop was due to the mystery that his training had been surrounded and to the belief that he would be a serious rival of the Argentine side in the final match of his series.

Four minutes into the match, the Chilean player Subriabre scored the first goal for his team. This seemed a check of the forecasts that were made before starting; but soon after the Chileans were confused by the impetuous offensive developed by the Mexicans. After a few minutes, managed to calm down, and managed to take the game to the Mexican field, but without gaining any advantage, mainly because each Chilean striker tried to score, regardless of whether his placement was favorable or not to get it. Both teams committed frequent fouls, which the referee did not punish. The game continued developing very moved, with superiority of the Chileans, although these showed signs of having little technique. The first half ends with the score of one to zero in favor of the Chilean team.

The second half started with several attacks by the Mexican players, which did not score any both the indecision in the shots and the low precision of his shots. A few minutes into the game the Chilean Subriabe scored again. From this moment the game became violent, and the Mexicans threatened the goal of their opponents because of the advanced position in which the Chilean defense was placed. After twenty minutes, Vidal scored the third goal for the Chileans. They continued to dominate these, although both their performance and that of their rivals is not very lucid. The Chilean Elgueta had to retire from the field to be injured. The referee reprimanded several players for playing hard; but he stopped punishing ruinous faults. The match ended with the victory of the Chileans by three goals to zero. (Associated Press.)

Thursday, 5 April 2018

Match Report - Argentina vs France (English translation from El Heraldo de Madrid)

This is an English translation of the match report that appeared in the Spanish publication El Heraldo de Madrid, on the 16th July 1930, of the game between Argentina and France from the previous day. Technically there are two accounts, the first a short paragraph, signed 'Fabra'. It is not clear if this is the name of the author or a news-agency. The second report is unsigned, however, the Madrid publication had previously picked up dispatches from Associated Press, who employed a local South American journalist who remained uncredited.

Common in many of these contemporary accounts are the misspelling of names, and as such in this google translation, I have remained faithful to original spellings which you can read here. Where there is confusion with the translation I have attempted to offer my own interpretation and readers are welcome to offer contributions to help improve the translation.

In the process of doing research of this World Cup it is ideal to do so using original accounts from the eyewitnesses, be it the players involved, or the journalist who chronicled the event. However, these are not free of errors, and in this account, it states that Alex Thepot, who was injured early in the match, was replaced by the substitute keeper, Tassin. But this is not true, because no substitutes were allowed and in fact Agustin Chantrel, the right back, took over between the post.

El Heraldo de Madrid, 16 July 1930.

Argentina beats France

MONTEVIDEO 16. - Yesterday afternoon they contended before a very large audience the teams of France and Argentina.

The performance of the Argentine team disappointed the fans. The French played much better than expected and managed to finish the first half with a goalless draw.

In the second half the Argentines got the only goal of the afternoon, which earned them the victory. - Fabra.

The great performance of the French.

MONTEVIDEO 16.-The match eliminator or for the soccer world championship played yesterday afternoon between the national teams of France and Argentina were attended by 15,000 spectators.

The Argentine team lined up in the following way:

Bossio; Della Torre, Muttis; Juan Evaristo, Montis, Suarez; Perinetti, Varallo, Ferreyra, Cherro, Manuel Evaristo.

The French was composed of Depaud, who replaced Tassin; Capelle, Matler; Chantreg, Pinell, Villaplane; Liberatt,. Delfeur. Machinot, Laurent, Lopgalier.

Despite the fact that the Argentine players did not act in the first half in their usual way, they retained a slight dominance. The French, on the other hand, caused great surprise by developing a game far superior to that of the first game, played with the Mexicans. Especially the forwards made a very fast game, which put several times in danger the Argentine goal. The Argentines failed on several occasions to bounce the ball on the posts and crossbar of the French goal. The French goalkeeper acted lucidly, saving several dangerous situations.

The first half, which was uninteresting due to the indecision of the Argentine defense and the lack of cohesion in both teams, ended with a goalless draw.

The goal is scored in the second half.

The French began the second half animated by the public, who applauded the good plays that made the European players, especially the goalkeeper, who act brilliantly, stopping several formidable shots of the Argentine forwards that seemed unstoppable.

As a result of a collision with one of the Argentine players, the French center forward has to be removed from the field after ten minutes of play.

From this moment on the game acquires great violence, achieving the enthusiasm of two Frenchmen to counter the greater technique of their opponents.

The French forwards play very quickly; but in the twenty minutes they had not managed to overcome the resistance of the Argentine media, nor to throw the ball against the opposite goal.

Meanwhile the Argentines give evidence of greater understanding and repeatedly threaten the French goal. The Europeans charge the body (al cuerpo?), and the Argentines, unaccustomed to this kind of game, are bewildered. The French defense acts with extraordinary violence against the repeated attacks of the Argentine strikers.

At thirty-six minutes of play, the Argentine Monti manages to score the first goal for his team, by launching a '' free-kick ''.

The French protest.

When the referee blows the whistle, terminating the game, the French players complain, claiming that the regulation time has not yet ended. The referee calls again to the Argentine players who had retired, so that they play two more minutes.

Argentine player Cherro, furious at the hostile demonstrations of the public, rebukes him, suffering shortly after a nervous attack, and is removed from the field.

The Frenchman Marchinot manages to throw a powerful shot, which passes a few centimeters above the crossbar, and after more time than granted in the extension, the referee ends the match with the victory of the Argentines by a goal to zero.

Monday, 2 April 2018

Match Reports: Yugoslavia vs Brazil & Romania vs Peru (English translation of Heraldo de Madrid)

This is an English translation of the match reports that appeared in the Spanish newspaper, El Heraldo de Madrid, on 15th July 1930. The two authors are anonymous but most likely are South American journalists. El Heraldo de Madrid did not send a correspondent to Uruguay and, based on previous dispatches, most likely carried the reports published by the cable news agency Associated Press.
Google was used to translate this document, and I have tried to keep to this conversion, but where there is confusion, I have added my interpretation. 
The identity of some players described in the action may not be correct as other reports identify different players. This is due in part because the players did not wear shirt numbers. 
What is common in much of the Spanish language press is the difficulty in their spelling of the names of the Yugoslav players. In this instance, I have decided to the include the misspellings.
You can read the original match report in Spanish here.
El Heraldo de Madrid, on 15th July 1930.
The soccer world championship in Montevideo
MONTEVIDEO 15. - The matches between the national teams of Yugoslavia and Brazil on the one hand, and Peru and Romania on the other, have been played in different fields and at the same time.*
*This is not correct. The Romania - Peru match was played after Yugoslavia - Brazil.
The Brazilian team was aligned in the following way:
Monteiro; Brilhante, Gervazoni; Fonseca, Dos Santos, Giudicelli; Ribeiro, Murtinho, Patuska, Coelhi and Bethencourt.
The Yugoslav team was composed of Yakchitch; Yocovitch, Michailovitch; Arsiniyovitch. Stevanovitch, Djokitch; Tirnanitch, Meryanovitch, Becb, Vonyadinovitch and Sekoulitch.
During the first half the Yugoslavs scored two goals in the twenty-three and thirty minutes of play, although the Brazilians showed to have a better technique.
The fight took a great train (tren) (?), playing the teams with violence. The referee annulled another marked (goal) by the Yugoslavs, for having been made out of play (alternative translation: for having been offside).
In the second half the Brazilians made superhuman efforts to draw; but they could only do so much, finishing the game with the victory of the Yugoslavs by two goals against one.
The match between the Romanians and Peruvians was developed in the following way:
At first the Romanians showed great superiority over their opponents, although they play with enthusiasm; but all their efforts are crashing before the Romanian defense line.
The minute after the start of the game the Romanian striker Covaci throws himself on the opposite goal and shoots a strong shot that stumbles on the head of the Peruvian goalkeeper, and this same one introduces him into his net, thus marking the first goal for the Romanians.
At thirty-eight minutes of play the Peruvian De las Casas and the Romanian Stainer stumble, resulting in the European player with a fractured leg. The game is suspended for ten minutes.
The first half ends with the result of 1 to 0 in favor of Romania.
At the beginning of the second half the Peruvian player Galindo and the Romanian Covaci got stuck (alternative translation: Galindo hit Covaci). The referee expelled Galindo, playing from this moment both teams with ten players.
The fight continued with monotony: but at thirty minutes the Peruvians Souza tied the score somewhat.
Three minutes before finishing Romanian put (scored) a goal, and two minutes later hit the Peruvian goalkeeper (goal) again, ending the meeting with the score of 3 to 1 in favor of the Romanians.

Saturday, 31 March 2018

Match Reports: US vs Belgium & France vs Mexico (English translation from Heraldo de Madrid)

This is an English translation of the match reports that appeared in the Spanish newspaper, El Heraldo de Madrid, on 14th July 1930, from the Associated Press, the press agency from the United States. The authors of the article are anonymous but are most likely South American journalist working on behalf of the American company. You can read the original match report in Spanish here. I have used google translate for this document and therefore may not be perfect in its translation. I have tried to keep to this translation but where there may be confusion I have offered my own interpretation. 

El Heraldo de Madrid, 14 July 1930.


MONTEVIDEO 13.- In the match for the football world championship played yesterday afternoon in the Stadium of this capital, between the teams of France and Mexico, the first one won by four goals against one .-- Associated Press

MONTEVIDEO 13.-In the game played yesterday afternoon between the team of the United States and the team of Belgium for the world football championship the United States scored three goals against zero their opponents. Associated Press

MONTEVIDEO 14.-With attendance of numerous public have begun the eliminatory matches for the world soccer championship.

They play, in first term (game?), the American and Belgian teams, the first of which has developed magnificent game, winning by three to zero, and showing a greater knowledge of the technique than its opponents.

The Belgians played a very fast game, which was, however, counteracted by the Americans, who shot very well, excelling in both times the extreme (winger) and the right inside. The defenses of both squads were deficient and only the good game of the Belgian goalkeeper stood out.

In the first half the forces were leveled, but since the second half began the American team showed a great super quality, which justified its triumph from three to zero, also standing out in this time the extreme (winger) and the inside right. In this second part (half) the Americans scored the goals for the far left, Mac Ghee, in brilliant and fortunate plays, being very applauded.

He also played very well in this time the right half. In general the defenses of the teams were bad and the forwards played well, being observed in the course of the game that neither of the two teams knows how to finish the plays.
At the end of the match, the critics who attend the tournament and who attended the Amsterdam Olympiad said that the current Belgian team is much lower than the one that played in that in 1928.

It can be predicted that the Paraguayans, who with the Americans and the Belgians form the fourth group, will easily defeat these two opponents and will be classified as winners of the series, since they surpass both teams.

The game between Americans and Belgians was developed without incidents or brusqueness, and the audience was produced correctly. Twenty thousand spectators attended.

In another field the eliminatory match between France and Mexico was also played, which was developed with very little assistance from the public. It would not exceed four thousand the total number of spectators, as the fans preferred to witness the United States - Belgium meeting, which had aroused greater interest in the nature of the competitors.

Both the Mexicans and the French played with great enthusiasm, although without good technique, although the French team proved to be far superior to the Mexican and have greater knowledge of the game.

The French superiority was evidenced in the final score, which threw four goals in favor of the French for one on the Mexican scoreboard, despite having played the French team almost the entire game with only ten players, because the team goalkeeper was injured, Thelpot (Thepot), shortly after having started the game, being replaced by the left half, Chantrel.

In general the game lacked good plays, and at times was very violent, becoming denaturalized the character of the meeting by the fury with which both teams developed their game.

Both the French and the Mexicans proved to be technically very inferior to any South American international team, especially the Mexican team, which played a completely primitive game, acting with absolute lack of any organization, which they tried to replace with a waste of enthusiasm.

Of the Mexican team the only one that was good was the goalkeeper, Bonfiglio. For the rest, the team has no defenses or attack line. The French were equally weak in the defense, owing their triumph to the work of the strikers, who, although not very regular, were outstanding and brilliant compared to the Mexicans, and gave them the victory.

However, the extremes (wingers) stood out in the winning team.
Associated Press

Soccernostalgia Podcast Part 2 - Peru, Paraguay, Romania, France & Brazil

This is part two of a three-part podcast I did with Shahan Petrossian from the Soccernostalgia blog on the subject of the first World Cup. You can get a summary and link to part one here. In this episode, we discuss the national teams of Peru, Paraguay, Romania, France and Brazil.


Beginning with Peru, we discuss the career of their Spanish coach, Francisco ‘Paco’ Bru, as well as his demands to have control of the selection process. We then move onto the team's training and travelling itinerary to Uruguay before a larger discussion of the role of race and class in Peruvian football in this period. We conclude with a discussion and analysis of the team performances against Romania and Uruguay.

We then briefly talk about Paraguay, and like Bolivia, there is very little contemporary documentation about the teams' preparation and secondary sources are also scarce. We touch upon the career of their Argentinian coach, Jose Duran Laguna, and discuss their performance at the 1929 Copa America which raised expectation upon the team in Uruguay. We then discuss their disappointing defeat against the United States as well as their narrow win over the Belgians.

We then turn our attention to Romania as we try to determine exactly the role played by the country’s monarch, King Carol, who is largely credited with the Balkan country’s participation in the first World Cup. How much of it is actually true as their appears different variations of the story? We then briefly analyse their performances against Peru and Uruguay, as some of it had been previously covered in the Peru section of this episode.

Next, we focus on the French and how Jules Rimet struggled to convince the French Football Federation to make the trip to Uruguay. There are references to some anecdotal stories from members of the delegation in their reports home. We learn how they performed admirably in their three matches and how perhaps the tournament schedule took a toll on the fitness of the team. Then there is a focus on the life and times of the French captain, Alex Villaplane, and his ultimate decline into criminality and collaboration with Nazi’s and his eventual execution by the French resistance in 1944.

In concluding this episode we focus on the Brazilians. We take a look at the controversy around the selection process which manifested in the rivalry among the footballing authorities of Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo. This resulted in the withdrawal of the Paulistas players from the squad. There are then some anecdotal stories around the teams travels to Uruguay before we take a look at the fall out from their shock 2-1 defeat to the Yugoslavians and their subsequent elimination from the tournament.

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Jose Nasazzi’s ‘National Treasure’?

After Argentina scored their second goal against Uruguay in the World Cup Final in the 37th minute to take the lead, the Uruguayan captain, Jose Nasazzi, complained to referee John Langenus that Guillermo Stabile and Manuel Ferreira were offside. When the Belgian official awarded the goal, after consulting with his linesman, Nasazzi ‘continued his protest in the referees dressing room at halftime etching a diagram on the fresh plaster.’

This account can be found in the 1998 publication, A History of the World Cup, Volume 1, The Jules Rimet Years, by authors Ken Knight, John Kobylecky and Serge Van Hoof. They claim that ‘this drawing remained scratched into the wall for years as a ‘’national treasure’’’. Inferred in this last statement is that this drawing is no longer etched in the foundations of this dressing room in the famous Estadio Centenario.

Unfortunately, the authors do not account for their source or sources from which this story is taken, and whether this was a primary document or a secondary one. Assuming they have recounted this accurately, without examining their materials we are unable to determine the credibility of the information from which it came.

It is perhaps appropriate to analyse these statements in two parts because it may provide clues to categorise their sources. So for instance, the first part where Jose Nasazzi follows the referee into his changing quarters and illustrates his protest in the wet plaster, hints strongly that this story came from an eyewitness. In trying to determine who this witness may have been we can assert with confidence that present in that room was the Uruguayan captain, Nasazzi, and the Belgian referee, John Langenus. It is also likely that also present were the two linesmen, Henri Christophe, from Belgium and the Bolivian, Ulises Saucedo. Are any of these four men responsible for promulgating this story? Was this recorded at the time or documented later to another chronicler based on the testimony of someone who was there? What is known is that John Langenus wrote about his experiences in Uruguay in his biography published in the 1940s, to which we will return to shortly.

But all this depends if the story is true. It is possible that some contemporary, who was present at the first World Cup, exaggerated the event or invented the story out of whole cloth for dramatic effect? There is at least one example of this after the commencement of the World Cup Final. The Argentinian newspaper, El Litoral (31 July 1930), reported how a rumour was fed back to the Buenos Aires press corps, that the Argentinian centre-half, Luis Monti, had come to blows with his Uruguayan counterpart and bitter rival, Lorenzo Fernandez, which resulted in the latter's death. But this was easily proven to be false because of the lack of detail where this was supposed to have occurred and that the unknown whereabouts of Fernandez were due to him having departed Montevideo quickly after the final. Some hack had tried to exploit the enmity between the two players to create a sensationalist headline to sell papers.

There are other similar examples. The referee John Langenus recalled that his compatriot, Henri Christophe, was surprised to learn that he had apparently done an interview with a local journalist. The French player, Augustin Chantrel, writing a dispatch for the weekly sports magazine, Match (29 July 1930), noted that the slightest rumour caught by a journalist would end up as a long article.

But all this would only make sense if the claim that this diagram became a national treasure is not true either. And this comes to the second part of the statement. That the authors state that ‘this drawing remained scratched into the wall for years’ suggest that they took the information from a secondary source. And if this ‘treasure’ exists or existed then it should be more commonly known.

It would be reasonable to assume that Nasazzi’s diagram, if the story is true, was his interpretation of where both Stabile and Ferreira were positioned in relation to the Uruguayan defenders the moment the ball was played. In terms of World Cup history, Nasazzi’s etching would be an important part of telling this story. In a sense, it would also be an early form of the way experts and pundits today use modern technology to analyse controversial incidents on the football pitch, replaying an incident and using touch screens and imaginary lines to determine if a player was offside or not.

It is only possible to imagine Nasazzi’s diagram by the descriptions written by reporters of Argentina’s second goal. Photographs do little to help as they only portray the ball hitting the back of the net. It may help to understand that during this period, as per the 1925 offside rule amendment, a player was deemed to be offside if he was positioned in front of the second-last defender. In other words, two defenders were needed between the attacker and the goal, when the ball is played forward, to be onside.

In reviewing some of the contemporary reports regarding the second goal it appears that only the Uruguayan chronicles argue that the goal was offside. This is none more illustrated by the official report Album Primer Campeonato Mundial de Football when Luis Monti ‘placed a high pass forward, and when Nasazzi was about to return it, he slowed down seeing that both Ferreyra and Stabile were behind him, in offside. The Olympic captain raised his hand, but the referee, placed in a bad position, was not able to see the infraction. Stabile and Ferreyra easily received the ball. With no rivals other than Ballesteros, they made a firm advance and Stabile kicked a high shot that beat the goalkeeper. Before acknowledging the goal, the referee asked linesman Mr Christophe, who did not find anything unusual and then pointed out to the middle of the field. Nasazzi protested, while the Argentineans, showing a natural joy, were hugging one another.’

Montevideo’s El Diario also describes Stabile in violation of the offside rule, while the Buenos Aires newspaper, La Nacion (31 July 1930), makes no mention of it and describes the striker slipping between two defenders before placing a ‘strong shot’ past the keeper. There is no description of an Uruguayan protest.

The referee, John Langenus, in his 1943 biography, En sifflant par le monde, notes that ‘the second goal of the Argentines appearing offside to the Uruguayans. Always the same question: the moment of the pass and the and the reception of the ball. A footballer understands this. My linesman Christophe was persuaded, like me, that the contested goal was regular.’ Interestingly, Langenus makes no mention of Jose Nasazzi following him into the dressing room and creating this diagram.

What can we know to be fact? It is clear from Uruguayan sources that the home team protested Stabile’s goal and that this was led by the captain. This at least makes it possible that Nasazzi continued his complaints into the locker room.

And what of the wet plaster? When the tournament began on July 13th, the Estadio Centenario was yet unfinished. Early matches were played at the El Gran Parque Central, home of Club Nacional, and the Estadio Pocitos where Club Penarol played. The Centenario officially opened on July 18th, with the host Uruguay defeating Peru 1-0. Is it possible that the plaster was still wet some twelve days later?

What we do know is that work continued on the new stadium after its inauguration. According to the book Four Weeks In Montevideo, by Hyder Jawad, which is based in part on the diary kept by an Uruguayan fan, named Antonio, who attended nearly all the games, he mentions that work on the stadium was still in operation some three days after Uruguay played Peru. Therefore, it is entirely possible that finishing touches were made to the stadiums interior leading up to the final, thus explaining the wet plaster.

If such an etching had become a ‘national treasure’ it would be reasonable to assume that there would documentation. A search of almost a dozen or so contemporary reports from Argentina and Uruguay yielded no results. However, access to all the periodicals and newspapers from these two countries has not been possible, so it's entirely possible the evidence exists.

In 1980, the Uruguayan newspaper, El Pais, published a magazine titled ‘Libro de Oro, ''Bajo un bosque de banderas...''’, which was a commemorative piece celebrating the 50th anniversary of Uruguay’s World Cup victory and which included interviews with some of surviving members of the Uruguayan squad. There is no mention of this apparent ‘national treasure’.

As the authors of The Jules Rimet Years suggest this diagram can no longer be found on the wall of the referee’s dressing room. So what happened to it? Has it been lost to us? If anybody has any information please get in touch by leaving a comment below or contacting me via twitter.

Monday, 1 January 2018

Soccernostalgia Podcast Part 1 - Mexico, Bolivia & Belgium


This is part one of a three-part podcast I did with Shahan Petrossian from the Soccernostalgia blog on the subject of the first World Cup. In order to make this interview as different as possible from the podcast with the Yesteryear Footy Pod, we had agreed upon a different format where we discuss each of the individual teams in the order in which they finished in the rankings i.e. from 13th to 1st. This would me allow to include topics not discussed in the previous aforementioned podcast. In part one we discuss Mexico, Bolivia and Belgium.


Beginning with Mexico we discuss the teams' long travel itinerary, anecdotal evidence with regard to the limited education of some of the players and their training regime on board the SS Munargo. Other items include the low expectations of this very young team and of the motivating tactics of their coach Juan Luque Serralonga. There is also a brief focus of one of Mexico's star players, Juan Carreno, and his on and off the field antics. We then review Mexico's matches against France (which include the 1st World Cup goal); Chile (1st World Cup own goal) and Argentina, a game in which there are some discrepancies on how many penalties were actually awarded. 

Moving on to Bolivia we discuss the general lack of information that has been published on this team. And how only recently has new information come to light on their pre-World Cup preparations and journey to Montevideo which coincided with an ongoing coup in the Andean nation. We then take a closer look at Ulises Saucedo, the coach and World Cup referee and his possible connection to Arsenal. We then discuss the reasons why Bolivian players wore letters on their shirts which spelt out 'VIVA URUGUAY' before moving on to their matches against Yugoslavia and Brazil.

We then conclude with Belgium and their journey to Montevideo and how much of what we know comes from the accounts given by the Belgian ref, John Langenus and goalkeeper, Arnold Badjou. Despite their training regime on board the SS Conte Verde some of the players gained weight. We also look at Belgium's selection issues, especially with regard to their star man, Raymond Braine, and how this left them lacking in their attack and as we discuss their defeats against the United States and Paraguay, this affected their ability to be potent in front of goal.