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Francisco Varallo; played for Argentina at first World Cup

Mr. Varallo, the last surviving player from the inaugural World Cup, posed at his house in Argentina in 2004. Mr. Varallo, the last surviving player from the inaugural World Cup, posed at his house in Argentina in 2004. (Pablo Cuarterolo/AFP/Getty Images)
Associated Press / August 31, 2010

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BUENOS AIRES — Former Argentine soccer star Francisco Varallo, the last surviving player from the first World Cup in 1930, died yesterday. He was 100.

His death in La Plata was confirmed by his former club Gimnasia y Esgrima, which did not specify a cause of death.

Mr. Varallo played in the final between Uruguay and Argentina in Montevideo, Uruguay. Argentina lost, 4-2.

He began his career with Gimnasia y Esgrima, but made his mark with Boca Juniors. Mr. Varallo is Boca’s second-leading scorer, with 194 goals, behind current striker Martin Palermo. Mr. Varallo was nicknamed “Canoncito’’ (little cannon) for his powerful shot.

He won national titles with Gimnasia in 1929 and with Boca in 1931, 1934, and 1935. He retired in 1940 and worked as a coach with Boca’s lower-division teams and coached Gimnasia in 1957-59.

Mr. Varallo gave an interview earlier this year to soccer’s world governing body to mark his 100th birthday. He said the loss to Uruguay was his greatest disappointment.

“I achieved a lot of nice things in my career,’’ he told FIFA. “I represented the national team and was Boca’s record goal scorer. However, in my whole life I’ve never felt such a bitter pain as losing that World Cup final against Uruguay in 1930.’’

Argentina led, 2-1, at halftime. After that, Mr. Varallo said the Argentines were soundly beaten.

“We ran out of steam, to tell you the truth,’’ Mr. Varallo said. “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.’’

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