World Cup legacy: Peruvian the first ever to be sent off

June 12th, 2010

Peruvians definitely get about, and whenever given the opportunity to be the first at something, be it fly across the Alps or get sent off the field in the world’s first ever global soccer competition, they jump at the chance.

The first World Cup competition for the world’s most popular sport – football – took place in the summer of 1930. Played in July of that year in Uruguay, Peru faced Romania in a fast-paced game. At 38 minutes into the event, a Romanian defender called Steiner collided with Peruvian Mario de las Casas.

Mario de las Casas and the national selection of 1930

Mario de las Casas and the national selection of 1930

Left-back Mario de las Casas was the joint founder of the Universitario de Deportes, along with Plácido Galindo and Eduardo Astengo in 1924. Commonly known as La U,  they are one of Lima’s two major football clubs, bitter rivals of Alianza Lima.

The collision left Romania with just ten players as there was no option for substitutes. Though an accident, the Romanians were not happy, tension was high and the game was continuously on the verge of turning into a full on fight according to the recollection of Peruvian team member Luis de Souza Ferreyra. In his opinion the Romanians were attempting to even the odds by either injuring or provoking a reaction from the Peruvians get someone sent off.

It wasn’t until the 56th minute though that they succeeded. In a game marred by brawls, Mario de las Casas apparently went too far, and in an era when red and yellow cards had yet to be invented, was simply ordered off the pitch by the referee.

The final score was 3-1 to Romania, a sign of things to come. Thanks to the efforts of today’s Peruvian national team, it is unlikely that any of them will be sent off from a World Cup game again.

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