Thirteen national teams competed for the inaugural world cup. Only four European teams travelling across the Atlantic to play the nine teams from the Americas. Initially, no European teams signed up, because their associations could not afford the expense of travel. In response, FIFA and the Uruguayan promised to cover the travel expenses of any European team.One notable absentee, the England team, failed to take part because the Football Association had withdrawn from FIFA three years before and declined a special invitation from the Uruguayan Football Association.
The competition format involved the division of teams into four groups. Each team played the others in their group once and the winners of each mini-league won a place in the semi-finals. In the semi-finals the winners of Group 1, Argentina beat the USA, winners of Group 4; the Group 3 winners and hosts Uruguay defeated Yugoslavia – strangely, the result of both games was 6:1.
On 30th July 1930, Uruguay faced their neighbours Argentina in the final at the Estadio Centenario, Montevideo in front of around 80,000 spectators. The hosts scored first, but Argentina responded with two goals to take a lead at half time. Three second-half goals for Uruguay sealed a 4:2 victory and they lifted the Jules Rimet Trophy for the first time.