By virtue of being Olympic champions, Uruguay got the opportunity to host the first ever FIFA World Cup in 1930. Despite a lacklustre response from the majority of the nations due to the difficulty of travelling to South America, the inaugural competition was huge success.

They won the 13-team tournament defeating Argentina 4-2 in the final at Montevideo. They had earlier defeated Argentina in the 1928 Olympics.

Their second trophy arrived 20 years later in Brazil. In the decisive match of the 1950 World Cup, Uruguay defeated Brazil 2-1 at Maracana stadium to the shock of home fans. The match is famous as the Maracanazo - The Maracana Blow. Friaca opened the scoring for Brazil, but a goal each from Juan Alberto Schiaffino and Alcides Ghiggia sealed the victory for Uruguay.

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