This Day That Year: Lucien Laurent's Scores First-ever World Cup Goal While Being on Unpaid Leave from Peugeot
On this day in 1930, the first-ever football World Cup match was played between France and Mexico.
The first ever World Cup was organised in Uruguay as they had successfully retained their football title at the 1928 Summer Olympics, with 13 teams (seven from South America, four from Europe and two from North America) taking part in the Uruguayan capital, Montevideo. This was only World Cup in the history of football to have been held without qualifiers, with the participating teams being invited to compete.
The first matches of the World Cup were played simultaneously with France facing Mexico and United States taking on Belgium.
But it was France's Lucien Laurent who etched his name in the history books when in the 19th minute of the clash, he fired past Mexican goalkeeper Oscar Bonfiglio from just outside the penalty area, before a 4444 crowd at the Estadio Pocitos.
"Our goalie kicked it to the [central defender] who switched it to our right winger [Ernest Liberati]. He beat the full back and sent over a cross which I managed to volley from about 12 yards into the corner," Lucien had told The Independent in a 1998 interview aged 91 years.
"Of course, back then I couldn't have imagined the significance the goal would have. We didn't even know the World Cup would last. I remember when I got home, there was just a tiny mention in one of the papers. [Football] was in its infancy."
France went on to win that game against Mexico 4-1, with Marcel Langiller and Andre Maschinot scoring the other goals. France were eventually knocked out in the group stage as they lost their next two games to Argentina and Chile.
Laurent, who at that time of the 1930 World Cup, worked at Peugeot car factory, had to take an unpaid leave to be able to represent his nation.
The host nation Uruguay were crowned champions of the world as they went onto beat neighbours Argentina 4-2 in the final.