Scots & South American Football

The early hours of Thursday morning, BST, will see two of the traditional South American powerhouses meet in the Copa America as Argentina play Uruguay.

As international football matches were established between these countries in 1901 Scots played key roles with brothers William and George Leslie, whose family originally came from Glasgow, lined up for Argentina in an unofficial match in Montevideo as the visitors won 3-2. Willie was then picked the following year to play in the first official match between the two nations with Argentina again winning, this time by six goals to nil. Anglo-Scot schoolteacher William Leslie Poole who is considered the ‘Father of Uruguayan football’, was founder of the English High School of Montevideo and was President of their FA in 1901.

Also as competition between the two continued, the Glasgow tea magnate Thomas Lipton donated the Copa Lipton trophy in 1905. The trophy was at stake on a regular basis in matches between the sides until 1929, but with the establishment of the World Cup in 1930 it gradually became less important with the last time it was contested being in 1992.