Last surviving participant of the 1930 FIFA World Cup Francisco Varallo dies aged 100

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Francisco Varallo while playing for Boca Juniors

Argentine footballer Francisco Varallo has died at the age of 100. Varallo was the last surviving participant of the first FIFA World Cup in 1930. His death was confirmed by his former Argentine club Gimnasia y Esgrima. The cause of death was not announced.

Varallo played for the Argentine national team and appeared at the 1930 FIFA World Cup in Uruguay. He played in the final match in which Argentina lost 4-2 against the host nation. During celebrations for his 100th birthday Varallo spoke about the tournament. He said "In my whole life I've never felt such a bitter pain as losing that World Cup final against Uruguay in 1930. We ran out of steam, to tell you the truth, with all due respect to my teammates, we weren't gutsy enough. How I cried that day. Even now when I look back it still makes me angry."

After the World Cup he played for Argentine teams Gimnasia y Esgrima and Boca Juniors. While at Boca Juniors he held the record for most goals scored at 194. He held this record until current striker Martin Palermo overtook his record.

FIFA President Sepp Blatter released a statment about Varallo's death. He said "In these grief-filled moments I can take immense pride from the fact that a character such as Francisco Varallo, whom we shall never forget, represented the football family with such dignity".