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Who were the first winners of the Football World Cup?

Published: Jun 9, 2014 2 min read

Stephen Lyon

Mathematics Lead

National STEM Learning Centre

I always thought that Uruguay were the first winners of the football world cup in 1930. However, on my way to Weardale, County Durham I passed through a town where the road sign stated; “West Aukland, home to the winners of the first football world cup”! A football exhibition in Stanhope confirmed the fact that West Aukland won the first world cup, the Sir Thomas Lipton Trophy, in 1909.

The exhibition featured the feats of small, non-league teams in the North East. Part of the exhibition contained old football boots and old footballs. I talked to my son about how these items have changed and are very different from the boots and footballs used today.

The discussions reminded me of some Numberphile videos. The first in which Euler’s formula (number of vertices – number of edges + number of faces =2) is used to prove that a standard football must have 12 pentagons and 20 hexagons and two others which look at the statistics behind football which shows how television companies receive the statistics they show during the coverage.

If you would like to deliver some football related mathematics lessons during the world cup then the links to these videos plus other football related resources from the National STEM Centre eLibrary can be found in the resource package “Mathematics in Football” which can be accessed via the Mathematics Resources Group.

New and Aspiring Leaders of Mathematics may be interested in our secondary level course of the same name.