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World Cup

World Cup

4.6 32
by Matt Christopher

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Soccer. No other sport in the world captivates a bigger audience -- and no other competition electrifies its fans like the World Cup. Now, just in time for the next World Cup competition, comes a book just for kids, jam-packed with information about each and every World Cup ever played.

Want to know who was behind the biggest surprise defeat of the 1950


Soccer. No other sport in the world captivates a bigger audience -- and no other competition electrifies its fans like the World Cup. Now, just in time for the next World Cup competition, comes a book just for kids, jam-packed with information about each and every World Cup ever played.

Want to know who was behind the biggest surprise defeat of the 1950 tournament? It's in here. Curious about what happened to the Jules Rimet trophy when it was in England? Turn to the chapter on World Cup 1966. Wondering what the term Total Football means? You'll find the answer here -- along with much, much more, including a bonus chapter on the Women's World Cup and lists of winners, runners-up, and scores of past Cups. And because it all comes from Matt Christopher, young readers know they're getting the best sports writing on the shelf.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This fast-paced, informative book is perfect for those of ANY age who want to learn about the world's most popular sport....Narrator Joshua Swanson's enthusiasm keeps listeners engaged even amid the book's many facts and figures. Further, he perfectly conveys the game's highly charged excitement, fever-pitched triumphs, and extreme disappointments."—AudioFile
School Library Journal
Gr 4–6—Matt Christopher's informative book (Little, Brown, 2010) relates the history of soccer's most prestigious competition from its inception in 1930 to 2006. The highlights of each tournament are presented, including interesting details about players and games. Christopher seamlessly weaves bits of history into the story, explaining how world events affected the athletic competition, such as the rivalry between Adolph Hitler and Benito Mussolini at the 1938 World Cup. The last chapter offers an overview of Women's World Cup from 1991 to 2007, including the United States team's incredible win over China in 1999. Joshua Swanson's narration is enthusiastic. With short chapters and loads of action, young sports fans and reluctant readers are sure to be drawn to this audiobook.—Cynthia Grabke, Coakley Middle School, Norwood, MA

Product Details

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication date:
Sold by:
Hachette Digital, Inc.
File size:
690 KB
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Related Subjects

Read an Excerpt

World Cup

By Christopher, Matt

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Copyright © 2010 Christopher, Matt
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780316044844



The Host Is the Most

On July 15, 1930, Argentina and France met to play the second game of the first World Cup—a match that would go down in soccer history, not because of its exciting action or high score, but because it produced one of the oddest endings to any match ever played.

The teams were equals in every way, leading to a scoreless first half. It wasn’t until the eighty-one-minute mark, in fact, that Argentina’s Luisito Monti booted the ball into the net. Argentina 1, France 0.

France redoubled its efforts and, as the clock wound down to the final minutes, got within striking range of Argentina’s goal. They had just launched their attack when suddenly the referee blew his whistle to signal that the game was over. Time, it seemed, had run out for the French.

Or had it? It turned out that the referee had misread the clock. There were actually six minutes left to play!

Players were called back to the field—some of them out of the locker-room showers—and the game resumed half an hour later. Much to France’s disappointment, however, the final result was the same. Argentina defeated them, 1–0.

France’s loss came on the second day of the 1930 World Cup. That same week, nine of the thirteen participating teams were forced out of the competition, leaving Yugoslavia, Uruguay, and the United States to join Argentina in the semifinal round.

That two South American teams, Uruguay and Argentina, had made it so far in the competition was no surprise. After all, Uruguay was the reigning Olympic champion and boasted top scorer Pedro Cea. Argentina had offensive might, too, including Luisito Monti and Guillermo Stábile, who was nicknamed El Infiltrador, or “the Infiltrator,” for his ability to worm his way past the defense.

The United States, still a newcomer to soccer, had reached the semifinals by literally muscling its way past the competition. Its players were big, but not as skilled as those on other teams. Argentina ran roughshod over them, outscoring the bewildered Americans six goals to one.

Yugoslavia was a surprise team and something of a mystery to the other nations. No one had seen enough of its style of play to know how it might fare against Uruguay. But how it fared was badly: the host country trounced the Yugoslavs, 6–1.

That victory set the stage for one of the most anticipated and highly charged finals the soccer world had ever known.

Uruguay and Argentina had been rivals on and off the pitch for years. All of South America was watching to see which country would come out on top. Nothing less than national pride was on the line.

In fact, when the Uruguayans found out that Argentina’s star player, veteran Pancho Varallo, had a broken foot, they rejoiced in the streets. In response, the Argentine coach ordered Varallo to play despite his injury. To do otherwise, the coach intimated, would make Argentina appear weak.

Eighty thousand fans packed into Centenario Stadium, a brand-new arena built especially for the finals (and completed just days before the match!). Emotions in the stands were running hot—so hot, in fact, that police were ordered to search spectators for weapons in order to prevent violence.

The first World Cup finals began at three thirty on July 30. Within the first minutes, Argentina lost one of its key players when Varallo fell to the ground, writhing in pain from his foot injury.

The loss of Varallo gave Uruguay an instant boost. Twelve minutes into the first half, they attacked the goal. Pablo Dorado got his foot on the ball and kicked. One second later, Uruguay was on the board—and Dorado was in the record books for scoring the first-ever World Cup finals goal.

But Argentina didn’t let up. Eight minutes later, Carlos Peucelle answered with a goal for his side. El Infiltrador added a second one for Argentina and caused the first disagreement of the game in doing so. Uruguay claimed that Argentina had been offside—that is, there hadn’t been two defenders between the offensive player and the goalie when the shooter received the pass. Therefore, they argued, the goal didn’t count.

But the referee stood by his call. The goal stayed on the board.

Argentina went into the second half with a one-point lead over the world champion. They didn’t keep that lead for long, however. At the fifty-seven-minute mark, Pedro Cea of Uruguay booted the ball into the net to tie the game. Eleven minutes after that, teammate Santos Iriarte did the same. Now Uruguay had the lead, 3–2!

That was too much for Pancho Varallo to bear. He signaled to his coach that he wanted to go back into the game, pain or no. When he limped onto the field, he did more than change the lineup: he brought new life back to the flagging Argentines, inspiring them to play harder. He himself played as hard as he could despite his injury and, late in the game, very nearly tied the score.

In fact, according to Vallaro, he had tied the score. Uruguay’s goalkeeper, he argued, had knocked one of his shots back after it had crossed the goal line. But once again, the referee had the final word on the play. He said the ball had been deflected before it crossed the line and, therefore, was not a goal.

Uruguay sealed the win with another goal a minute before the game ended, making the final score Uruguay 4, Argentina 2. The Olympic champs were victorious again!

Raucous celebrations erupted throughout the stadium, in the streets, and throughout the host country. Jules Rimet presented the Victory Cup (renamed the Jules Rimet Cup in 1946) to the Uruguayan Football Association’s president, beginning a tradition that remains unbroken today.

By all accounts, the first World Cup had been a huge triumph for the sport of soccer. The only question now was, how could FIFA build on this success and make the second competition even better?


Excerpted from World Cup by Christopher, Matt Copyright © 2010 by Christopher, Matt. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Matt Christopher is the best selling name behind more than 100 sports-themed books for young readers.

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World Cup 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 32 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good book
Kenneth Thomas More than 1 year ago
this is a great book if you like soccer.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As a soccer player I love the book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is good
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Awesome book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love soccer dads ref and coach brother too i play so does brother and sisters great book for people like us
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I lo ve it
Neil Soi More than 1 year ago
This is the best book in the world if you like soccer and you play it. It is a sik book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The best world football teams are the united states and portugal and australia!!!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very good book bgreat to learn all about the different teams. Funny how teams like hungry used to be good but now stink.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Cool awsome and history of soccer book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Mary Liguori More than 1 year ago
The four is the best band in the world
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
All of you dont play in a soccer team and suck at soccer.Or are yall suck at fifa 14 and 15..........
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I hate the world cup.You might think if I hate the world cup it'.po why would I read a book about the world cup it's just my brother he obessed with it like the movie obessed
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Are you from England?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In my country we dont do that "soccer" thing
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
FIFA World Cup is awesome go Geremany,USA,and Belguim.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Practically eat, sleep, and breath soccer and the world cup!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Oooooooooooooop good book