Jules Rimet proposed a multi-national football tournament, which was opposed, but later on, it became a reality on July 13, 1930. He invited as many countries as possible, but only thirteen of them accepted the invitation that included just four European teams.
There were no inter-continental flights at the time, a trip from Europe to America required a few weeks on a ship.
Brazil – the biggest country in Latin America, where football was gaining much popularity, but still, were behind their neighbours – Argentina and Uruguay in terms of competitiveness, skill, and temperament, accepted the invitation without a second thought.
All Brazilian players, except Araken, who went to the World Cup in Uruguay played in teams of Rio de Janeiro.
This happened because the Brazilian Football Federation, which has always been located in the Rio de Janeiro, refused to invite managers from the Sao Paulo Federation to compound the staff which would go to Uruguay, and, in response, the teams from Sao Paulo refused to release their players to the Brazilian team.
Araken was playing with Santos, a team from Sao Paulo, but he volunteered to participate in the tournament.
It meant the renowned names like Del Debbio, Feitico, and the great Friedenreich missed out.
It left Preguinho as the star and skipper of a squad also comprising Fausto, Moderato, and Carvalho Leite.
Even though, it might not have mattered much because at that point in time Brazil were still not at the level of Argentina, Uruguay, or Yugoslavia.
Professionalism was missing.
The head of staff was Afranio Costa, who had won the silver medal of target shooting in the Olympics of Antuerpia, in 1920, but who knew absolutely nothing about football. Many friends of the directors were sent as journalists. The coach, Píndaro de Carvalho, arrived to Montevidéu a few days before the Cup, a few days after the players had already arrived.
The first match of Brazil in a World Cup happened on June 14, 1930, against Yugoslavia, in the Parque Central stadium, Montevideo.
The temperature was nearly zero celsius (32 F). The cold affected much more the Brazilians, coming from a tropical country, than the Yugoslavians, accustomed to rigorous winters.
Yugoslavia went 2-0 ahead within 30 minutes.
During the half time break, the Brazilians used blankets and drank hot tea to try to warm themselves.
The match proceeded with Yugoslavia dominating the proceedings.
In the 62nd minute, a player named Preguinho became a part of Brazil football folklore by scoring their first-ever World Cup goal.
Preguinho was the captain of the Selecao and was an unknown figure in his own country.
At just 18, Preguinho became Rio de Janeiro’s 600-meter swimming champion.
Two years later, on 19 April 1925, he won the title for the third year in a row.
Um dos maiores ídolos do Fluminense e autor do primeiro gol da Seleção em Copas do Mundo, Preguinho teve seu busto restaurado e instalado na sede do clube, em Laranjeiras! Venha fazer o #FluTour e conferir essa e outras atrações! #NósSomosAHistória pic.twitter.com/Mz15PMhoWv
— Fluminense F.C. (@FluminenseFC) February 20, 2020
This time, though, Preguinho didn’t wait to collect his medal. He didn’t even have time to dry himself off and put on a pair of underpants, instead hurriedly pulling a pair of shorts over his soaked trunks and rushing across Rio to make his football debut for Fluminense.
Preguinho helped Flu win the Torneio Inicio and another six trophies over a one-club, 14-year football career. Preguinho’s marriage to Fluminense has begun way before he began wearing their Tricolor shirt.
Preguinho averaged around a goal for Flu, twice finishing as leading marksman in the Campeonato Carioca, despite not only playing upfront, but also in central midfield, on the left-wing and in behind the striker.
His versatility extended beyond football pitches.
Preguinho unbelievably won 387 medals for the club in ten sports, football and swimming among basketball – he remains second on their list of all-time leading point scorers – diving, roller hockey, rowing, table tennis, track and field, volleyball and water polo.
Great achievements, but he is best remembered in Brazil today for the first goal he scored in white shirt – in those days, the famous Yellow and Blue were still not in action.
Brazil lost their first-ever World Cup encounter against better opposition.
In their next encounter, Moderato and Preguinho struck twice against Bolivia to script Brazil’s first-ever World Cup victory, but the Selecao had to leave Uruguay without advancing to the second round.
They finished sixth among the thirteen teams competed.
The Selecao landed in Uruguay without any music, drum beats, or party and left silently.
None in Brazil even bothered to care about that team back then, but after many years, they would realize the significance of that participation and Preguinho’s first-ever World Cup goal.