International footballing authority, FIFA’s decision to hold the first World Cup in 1930 in Uruguay infuriated Europe which considered itself the center of the soccer universe; so much so that initially no European country entered until Uruguay offered to cover team’s travel expenses. One of the four teams to take up the offer was
, sparked by the encouragement of the newly-crowned King Carol II, a devoted soccer fan. Not only did he pick the team but he made sure all the players would still have their jobs when they returned. Romania
An arduous train journey followed by two weeks on a ship together with the Belgian and French teams dispatched the Romanians in
on July 4th. On July 14th they beat Montevideo 3-1 in front of 300 spectators, the smallest crowd ever to watch a game at the World Cup finals. Their next and last game in the tournament was a 4-0 drubbing at the hands of hosts and eventual winners Peru , in front of 80,000 spectators. That was followed by the arduous trip back to Uruguay and a place in soccer history. Romania
Such was the relatively haphazard organization of the first World Cup that the Romanian manager was pressed into service as a linesman in a couple of matches, albeit in a different group.
An additional footnote to the first World Cup was the performance of the
who finished third. The U.S. won their group by beating both U.S. and Belgium 3-0. Against Paraguay , Bert Patenaude of the Paraguay became the first player to score a hat-trick in the finals. U.S.