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Saturday, 31 March 2018

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.

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