The Miracle Men of Montevideo

The Miracle Men of Montevideo

"The Miracle Men of Montevideo", "The Saviors of Soccer" and "Upsetting Upstarts in Uruguay". All nicknames given by American fans of the Game of Soccer (Football elsewhere) to the United States National Team in the inaugural FIFA World Cup in 1930. Some credit them with saving the game in America and keeping the American Soccer League afloat during the depression. And to their credit their success in the Cup help revitalize the Sport in America. The dawn of Soccer in America had other causes as well, the depressions need for cheap toys, the popularity abroad, but it always seems to come back the the Miracle Men of Montevideo. So let us begin with them.

Going into the World Cup the Americans were hardly favorites, that title belonged to hosts Uruguay, defending Olympic Gold Medalists, or Argentina the Silver Medalists. However, America was seeded, and so was spared from playing any powerhouses during the group stage. The Groups were as follows (* indicates seeded.

Group 1:
*United States

Group 2:

Group 3:

Group 4:

All of the seeded teams were expected to progress. The Tournament started in earnest on 13 July, as the United States vs Mexico and Brazil vs France Games started simultaneously. The Games had begun.

Group 1 was dominated from the start by the Americans, who started off the tournament by beating Mexico 2-0 on opening day, with Billy Gonsalves opening the scoring in the 29th minute after a fatal flub by the Mexican keeper when he was clearing. The second goal for the Americans occurred in the 75th as Gonsalves passed the ball from the left side right to the feet of Fall River teammate Bert Patenaude who chipped it over the head of the keeper. In their opening game the Bolivians struck early and plowed the ball into the back of the Paragauyan net in the 9th Minute. But sadly things fell apart from there and two quick goals by Paraguay in the 49th and 52nd dashed the Bolivian's hopes of victory. The two victors then met in what was essentially a Quarterfinal match. It was all America as Gonsalves repeated his success on top of goals by Philip Stone and Archie Oliver to win 3-0. The Mexicans defeated the Bolivians in a consolation match 1-0. Technically, America could still be knocked out in their final game against Bolivia, but their top notch passing got them through 2-1, with Bolivia taking solace in the fact that they knocked one in against Jimmy Douglas. The Mexicans and Paraguayans played each other to a 1-1 draw. And so the Americans progressed to the semifinal.

Group 1 Final Table:
Country Pts
Paraguay 3
Mexico 3
Bolivia 0

Group 2 was dominated by Argentina. They won their first tournament game against Yugoslavia as Roberto Cherro scored the first ever World Cup hat trick with goals in the 39th, 49th and 78th minutes. The game was won 3-1 after a brilliant 89th minute consolation goal by Đorđe Vujadinović remembered bittersweetly in Yugoslavia as "mало касно" or "a little late". The Argentines then soundly beat Belgium 2-1 in their next game to secure a path to the semifinal. In a game only for pride Yugoslavia beat out a last minute Belgian onslaught to win the game 1-0.

Group 2 Final Table
Country Pts
Argentina 4
Yugoslavia 2
Belgium 0

The hosts were the overwhelming favorites for Group 3 and they did not disappoint. Their first game was a scare as Romanian striker Constantin Stanciu popped two quick goals into the net in the first ten minutes, silencing the local crowd. The Uruguayans ended the half on a positive note with a goal in the 44th minute. But it still seemed shaky for the favorites. However there was no need for worry as the machine revved up again, booting in goals in the 62nd and 76th to take the lead and one in the 88th to seal the deal. They promptly dispelled any further doubts in their second game as they crushed Peru 4-0. Peru kept their cup winless as they then fell 2-1 to Romania in the final Group 3 game.

Group 3 Final Table
Country Pts
Uruguay 4
Romania 2
Peru 0

Group 4 was the most exciting group of the stage. The opening game was considered the deciding one, as group favorites Brazil played France. The Brazilians struck first, Defender Brilhante took an outside the box shot in the 26th and it surprisingly it went in. He thus scored the first goal in World Cup history. The French struck back in the 38th on a Corner Kick that was headed in. But the Brazilians stormed out in the second half and got themselves up to 2-1 in the 47th. The struggle escalated in the 66th when the French rebounded off of a flubbed Brazilian clear and equalized. The game seemed destined for a draw until in the 87th Minute Fortes broke down the side and nudged one past the keeper, giving Brazil Victory 3-2. The stage seemed set for a Brazilian semifinal run. But alas for Brazil they let one in the 4th minute against Chile their next game. After their lone goal the Chileans played defensively, and though Brazil tried hard they lost and France still had a chance. And they seized the chance. They got up 1 against the Chileans in the 34th minute of their game. After the half they solidified the lead with goals in the 62nd and 74th. A three way tie had emerged for the group leadership. FIFA had anticipated a two way draw, which was to be resolved via playoff, but how were they to decide a three way tie?

In an emergency meeting, FIFA officials onside decided the following, the winner would be decided based on a playoff after all. Brazil and Chile would have a rematch to decide who played France. France, having the highest Goal Difference received a "bye". In the rematch Brazil corrected their mistakes and soundly defeated the upstart Chileans by a 2 to 1 margin. So, after a hectic few days, it was back where it started, France vs Brazil. France to had learned from their mistakes and responded accordingly, they played defensively to neutralize the Brazilian counter attack. In the 49th minute, French forward Edmond Delfour scored the only goal of the match off of a free kick. France, after a long road, was through to the Semifinals.

Group 4 Final Table:
Country Pts
France 2
Brazil 2
Chile 2

Playoffs: Brazil 2 Chile 1--------> France 1 Brazil 0

The Semifinals of the 1930 World Cup:

Semifinal #1: USA vs France
Semifinal #2: Uruguay vs Argentina
Two questions:

1. What's the PoD?
2. Are you going to take this to today?

Good start.

Hope you focus more on the pop culture.