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World Cup History 1930-1950

Uruguay and Italy split the first four World Cup titles, establishing the tradition of teams winning on their home continents. The inaugural 13-team tournament was hosted by two-time defending Olympic champion Uruguay, which went on to beat Argentina in the final. Facing economic crisis, many European nations declined to make the long sea journey to participate. With dictator Benito Mussolini looking on in Rome, Italy defeated Czechoslovakia to win the 1934 World Cup. In 1938, the Italians became the first repeat champion in World Cup history, defeating Hungary in Paris for the title. After a 12-year hiatus caused by World War II, attendance nearly tripled at the 1950 tournament in Brazil. Some 185,000 fans were stunned to see the home side lose the title to Uruguay 2-1 at Rio's Maracana stadium.

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