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YESTERDAY (30 August) a piece of footballing history faded out of living memory with the death of the last surviving player from the very first World Cup in 1930.

Francisco Varallo passed away at the grand old age of 100 in La Plata, Argentina – the capital city of the province of Buenos Aires and the place of his birth.

Francisco Varallo

He was nicknamed ‘Canoncito’ or ‘Little Canon’ for his power shots, and with said powerful shot scored 181 goals for his club Boca Juniors. This record was only broken this year by Martin Palermo.

As an Argentina international he played 16 matches and scored seven goals. His only World Cup finals goal came in his country’s 6-3 win over Mexico. Varallo played in the very first World Cup Final against arch rivals and host nation Uruguay.

His side lost the match 2-4, and he said that the loss made him angry a full 80 years after the event.

But he did enjoy winning four Argentina league titles. One with Gimnasia de La Plata in 1929, and three with Boca Juniors in: 1931, 1934 and 1935. Varallo also won the 1937 South American Championship with Argentina in 1937.

He retired from football in 1940 at the age of 30, still feeling the effects of a bad knee injury which saw him miss virtually the whole of the 1938 season.

Varallo later became a coach in the lower divisions in Argentina, and in 1994 became only the second player to be awarded the FIFA Order of Merit.

A sad day for World Cup enthusiasts the world over.


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