Look back at opening match days 1930-1978

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By Mike Collett

JOHANNESBURG, June 9 (Reuters) - A look back at previous World Cup opening day matches:

France 4 Mexico 1 - July 13 1930

With no qualifying matches needed, the first ever World Cup games kicked off at the same time with France beating Mexico 4-1 in Pocitos Stadium in Montevideo in the designated opening match and the United States defeating Belgium 3-0 across the city at the Parque Central.

Hosts Uruguay were not in action until five days later. France's Lucien Laurent, who lived to be 97 and died in 2005, scored the first ever goal after 19 minutes.

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Italy 7 United States 1 - May 27 1934

Eight matches were staged on the opening day of the 1934 World Cup with the match between hosts and eventual champions Italy designated as the opening game and ending in an opening match record score of 7-1 to the Italians.

Somewhat bizarrely, the United States had only sealed their place in the finals four days earlier when they beat Mexico 4-2 in Rome in a playoff match.

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Switzerland 1 Germany 1 - June 4 1938

The knockout format was used again four years later and the first World Cup staged in France started with a 1-1 draw between Switzerland and Germany at the Parc des Princes in Paris.

Switzerland won the replay 4-2 five days later after Germany had taken an early 2-0 lead.

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Brazil 4 Mexico 0 - June 24 1950

The World Cup finals resumed after World War Two with hosts Brazil beating Mexico 4-0 in front of 82,000 at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro after an opening ceremony which featured a 21-gun salute.

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Yugoslavia 1 France 0 - June 16 1954

The 1954 World Cup finals started with four matches on the same day with Brazil thumping Mexico in their opening match again, winning 5-0 in Geneva.

The other opening day games saw Yugoslavia beat France 1-0 in the designated opening match in Lausanne, Austria defeat Scotland 1-0 in Zurich and world champions Uruguay overcome Czechoslovakia 2-0 in Berne.

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Sweden 3 Mexico 0 - June 8 1958

Hosts and eventual runners-up Sweden beat Mexico 3-0 in the opening match on a day when seven other games were also played, and 29 goals in total were scored.

The highlight was France's 7-3 winner over Paraguay in Norrkoping which included a hat-trick from France's Just Fontaine who scored 13 goals at the tournament, still the record for a single World Cup.

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Chile 3 Switzerland 1 - May 30 1962

Hosts Chile beat Switzerland in the officially designated opening match on a day when Brazil beat Mexico 2-0 in the opener for the third time in four World Cups, with goals from Mario Zagallo and Pele.

In the other games Uruguay beat Colombia 2-1 and Argentina beat Bulgaria 1-0.

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England 0 Uruguay 0 - July 11 1966

Hosts England opened the World Cup with a dour 0-0 draw against a highly defensive Uruguay at Wembley Stadium. England played for over two hours before Bobby Charlton scored their first goal of the tournament after 37 minutes of their second match against Mexico but they ended the tournament as world champions for the first and only time.

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Mexico 0 Soviet Union 0 - May 31 1970

The hosts opened the World Cup with another goalless draw in Mexico City in a tense match played at altitude which saw five players booked and Anatoli Puzach of the Soviet Union, the first substitute to feature in the finals, replacing Viktor Serebryanikov at halftime.

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Brazil 0 Yugoslavia 0 - June 13 1974

The third successive goalless opening match saw defending champions Brazil held by Yugoslavia who went close to scoring when Branko Oblak headed against a post late in the game in Frankfurt.

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West Germany 0 Poland 0 - June 1 1978

Another opening match -- another goalless draw. Defending champions West Germany and Poland became the fourth pair of teams who failed to produce a goal in the opening game in Buenos Aires, although the Germans found their goal touch five days later thumping Mexico 6-0.

(Editing by Ken Ferris; To query or comment on this story email sportsfeedback@thomsonreuters.com)