Penarol’s historic trip to Europe


By Stephen Brandt 

Growing the sport is always been a prirority among clubs. Making money is also high on the list of every chairman or Director of Football. The sport in Uruguay is always fun to watch. The 20s were the golden era of football in Uruguay. By the middle of the decade the two biggest clubs in the country made the treck to Europe. In 1925 Nacional, the rivials of Penarol made a successful trip to Europe. So in 1927 Penarol from Uruguay went to Europe. See how this goes? This is the story of Penarol going to Europe.

Penarol was founded on December 13, 1913, and they play in the capital of Uruguay of Montevideo. The name of the club like with many clubs of the time was named after the neighborhood they are residing in. They were successful in their early years winning the league in 1918 and 1921. When they left for Europe they were on a dry spell of six years. This was during the amatuer era of the sport in the country, as professionalism wouldn’t come around until 1932. Ironically Penarol would play the first official professional match against River Plate of Uruguay.

Not to be out done by their rivals, Penarol went to Europe in 1927. Since the sport was so wide spread, the club could get a match in any country they went to. Taking a trip like this would also get their players on the map. They played matches in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Spain, Czechoslovakia, and France. This is also Europe between the great wars. Most of the countries had recover from the First World War, and had no idea that the second war was coming around the corner .

Their first stop on the European tour was in Vienna Austria for the first of a couple stops in the same town. One of the issues with tours this early in the sport is finding out any information on who played in the matches. When you do find something, it’s either the complete record or half truths. What we know about this first match is that it was played on April 3rd and the Vienna Select side beat Penarol 3-1. Just as a reference all box scores were maintained by Pablo Ciullini at the newspaper La Nacion.   

The Box Score from the match:


[Apr 3]

Wien Select 3-1 Peñarol [at Hohe Warte Stadion, Wien]

[Wesely 48, Rappan 56, Horvath 57; P.Terevinto 10]

Wien Select: Fabian; Rainer, Blum; Richter, Hofmann, Schneider;

Weiss, Rappan, Jiszda, Horvath, Wesely.

Peñarol: L.Biscardi; J.Benincasa, D.D’Agosto; P.Ruotta, A.Boccardo, A.Aguerre;

L.Pérez, A.Suffiotti, P.Terevinto, P.Anselmo, J.Arremón.

Referee: Zadak.


Next it was off to Germany for matches against three actual club sides.  Up first is Bayern Munich. While the sport in Germany has always been first rate, the Bundesliga didn’t come around for another thirty years. Just as reference Bayern’s first year in the Bundesliga was in 1967. At this time, Bayern was winning regional leagues. The matches, as I said above there’s incomplete records of the matches. But we do know that Bayern won 2-1. Next they were onto playing HSV, another very well known club in the sport. This was a close match on April 15, which HSV only one 3-2. Two days later they went to play SpVgg Dresden on the 17th, which we actually have box score of:


[Apr 17]

SpVgg Dresden 2-1 Peñarol [at DSC Stadion]

[Adler 43, Haftmann 90; A.Sacco 82]

SpVgg Dresden: Richter; Gloxin, Herzog; Mantel, Köhler, Stössel;

Haftmann, Berthold, Gedlich, Adler, Schrempel.

Peñarol: J.Legnazzi; J.Benincasa, D.D’Agosto; P.Ruotta, G.Silva, A.Aguerre;

L.Pérez, P.Paola, P.Terevinto, A.Sacco, J.Arremón.

Unfortunately, the club would play a couple days later on the 19th, and all we know about the Hertha Berlin match is that Penarol lost 1-0. Nothing beyond that survives the match. The problem we are up against is that World War 2 would kick off years later, and the Nazi would destroy anything that wasn’t pro Nazi. And we do know that Adolf Hilter couldn’t sit still through a football match.

On the 24th they would play another great club. Eintracht Frankfurt. Eintracht was founded on March 8, 1899 and were a founding member of the Bundesliga. Their years before going the top league was spent winning many regional leagues. This is one of the select few of the tour that the box score of the match is full, we do know that Eintracht won 3-1.  That was a bad start to the tour, they hadn’t won a match, and were getting blown out.

They next moved onto Switzerland, and played against a couple clubs, Young Fellows and Rapid Wien. The match on May first would see the club grab its first win. They won 1-0 on a Suffiotti goal. They would three days later play a traditional powerhouse in Europe in Rapid Wien, and get smashed  5-0. They’d go to Prague to play to Sparta Praha, and only lose 1-0.

The last half of the tour was was in Spain where they picked up steam and played some really good matches. They played two matches against Barcelona and lost one 5-1 and tied the other 1-1. Barcelona was a big side even then and the score was pretty much a foregone conclusion.  They picked up a sensational win against Atletico Madrid in the first match of a two match series:


[Jun 12]

Atlético Madrid 2-5(1-4) Peñarol [at Estadio Metropolitano, Madrid]

[Goiburu (2); P.Terevinto, A.Sacco, P.Anselmo (3)]

Atlético Madrid: Martínez; Quesada, Galdós; Moreno, Peño, Sáez;

Montalbán, Goiburu, Palacios, Cominges (Lope Peña), Olaso.

Peñarol: J.Legnazzi; J.Santero, D.D’Agosto; P.Ruotta, A.Boccardo, A.Aguerre;

L.Pérez, A.Sacco, P.Terevinto, P.Alselmo, J.Arremón.

Referee: Escartin.

Penarol would lose the second match three days later 4-3. By far the trip to Spain was more competitive for Penarol, outside of the matches against Barcelona. Penarol wasn’t run off the pitch and played enough good to keep it close against Atletico. Penarol would then finish up their trip to Europe with a two match series against Valencia, tying the first match in a goalless draw and losing 2-1 on June 22. The tour was a success, Antonio Sacco was the leading scorer with 9 goals, and the club scored 32. They did however let in 33 goals. The overall record for the tour was seven wins, four draws, and eight losses.


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