Saturday, July 17, 2010

17 July 1930 - The World Cup's First Hat-Trick

On 17 July 1930, US forward Bert Patenaude (pictured, front row, center) scored the first-ever World Cup hat-trick as the United States beat Paraguay 3-0 in the first round group stage of the inaugural World Cup.

Played before a meager crowd of 800 at Montevideo's Estadio Parque Central, the match was the first of the tournament for Paraguay. The US had played one previous match, beating Belgium 3-0 on the tourney's opening day. Patenaude had scored the third goal against Belgium in the 88th minute.

Against Paraguay, he picked up where he had left off by scoring in the 10th minute. The US went up 2-0 in the 15th minute, but for years FIFA credited that second goal to Patenaude's strike partner Tom Florie. Other reports claimed it as an own goal scored by Paraguay's Aurelio González. Patenaude unambiguously scored the third goal in the 50th minute to secure the 3-0 win and put the US through to the knockout stage, where they were eliminated by Argentina.

Two days after the US-Paraguay match, Argentina's Guillermo Stábile netted three goals in their 6-3 win over Mexico, staking claim to the first-ever World Cup hat-trick. But in November 2006, FIFA confirmed Patenaude as the scorer of the second US goal against Paraguay, giving him the honor.

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