Early History

1.25l Soccer Players stamp
This 1934 Italian World Cup stamp was the first designed by a woman, Liana Ferri, for the Italian post.
1.75fr Soccer Players stamp
The World Cup issue for host nation France was released on June 1, 1938.
60 centavos Globe and Soccer Players stamp
Brazil issued this 60 centavos World Cup stamp as hosts of the 1950 World Cup.

The first widespread international soccer competitions revolved around the Olympic Games and featured amateur players. FIFA made several attempts to organize their own international soccer tournament in the early 1900s with little success. By 1928, under the astute leadership of FIFA President Jules Rimet, the vote was made for the federation to organize and stage a world championship. Uruguay agreed to host the first tournament, which took place in the summer of 1930. Since then the World Cup has been held every four years (with the exception of 1942 and 1946 due to World War II).

The early years featured a competition rotating between South American and European locales. Not all FIFA member countries participated. Politics, war, and the strains of international travel were constant factors. Traveling to Europe for the 1934 World Cup in Italy was still difficult and expensive for national teams. It took the Brazilian contingent 11 days to arrive via ship, only to be eliminated in their first game.