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ITALY 1934


ITALY 1934

Well after the first World cup was held in Uruguay, South America it was now Europe’s turn to host the World Cup and Mussolini’s Italy got the World Cup. World Cup Tournament Participants now however had to qualify and although Italy were the hosts they had to qualify for the World Cup as well. Imagine Italy not qualifying for the World Cup and being hosts but they managed to beat Greece 4-0 and qualify saving face and the World Cup spirit. Italy being the host was a great platform for Mussolini to propagate fascism. This world cup had 16 nations that qualified, 2 from South America, 1 from North America, 1 from Africa and 12 from Europe. World Cup 1934 had a different format to the previous World cup in that there were no Group Games but a straight Knockout Format to the finals.

Round 1The hosts Italy absolutely hammered the United States in the opening game of the tournament winning 7-1. Schiavio scored a hatrick. Other results included Spain beating Brazil 3-1, Sweden beating Argentina 3-2 and Hungary beating the first African team playing in a World Cup Egypt 4-2 resulting in a complete European Quarterfinal line-up. Switzerland beat Holland 3-2, Austria beat France 3-2, Czechoslovakia beat Romania 2-1 and Germany beat Belgium 5-2 with Conen scoring a hatrick to complete the quarterfinal list.

Germany beat Sweden 2-1, Czech Republic beat Switzerland 3-2 and Austria beat Hungary 2-1 to all qualify for the semi-finals. Italy drew 1-1 with Spain after extra time and therefore created the first ever World Cup Knockout Replay match as there were no penalty shoot outs. In the Replay Italy’s star player Guisseppe Meazza scored the only goal of the match to make Italy the last Semi-finalist.

Semi-FinalsItaly beat Austria’s “Wunderteam” Very Controversially by a Single Goal to Nil reach the final. It is rumoured that the Swedish Referee in charge of the game Ivan Eklind was approached and appointed by Mussolini. Italy’s opponents would be Czechoslovakia who beat Germany 3-1 thanks to Czechoslovakia’s star player of the tournament Oldrich Nejedly scoring a hatrick as well as a goal each in the first 2 rounds of the tournament. This would make him the top scorer of the tournament with 5 goals.

Third-Place Playoff
In the first ever officially recorded third place playoff (losers final) Germany beat Austria 3-2 to claim third place.

Mussolini was undoubtedly enjoying the World Cup with Italy being in the finals and having a great chance to win. Again their was controversy even before the start of the game as the referee for the Final was to be the same referee of Italy’s Semi-final against Austria, Sweden’s Ivan Eklind. The first goal only came with under 20 minutes to go from Czechoslovakia’s Puc. The Italians equalized through Orsi in the dying minutes of the game to take it to Extra Time. (Photo of Italian Coach Vitorrio Pozzo observing the action)
Extra Time!
Now it was down to who was fitter. Italy were already struggling as Guiseppe Meazza was playing injured as no substitutes were allowed in FIFA World Cups as yet. This however worked in Italy’s favour as the Czech’s did not pay attention to marking him and it was Meazza who created the move that led to Schiavio scoring the winner for Italy. Italy became World Champions. Luis Monti Italy’s midfielder was the first ever player to win 2 medals with 2 different countries as runner up for Argentina in 1930 and winner for Italy in 1934. Orsi the equalizer and Guaiata were also Argentinean. It seems Italy had more Argentinean players than Italians. I wonder how Mussolini felt about that.

Joseph “Pepi” Bican, striker of Austria’s “Wunderteam”, holds the record for scoring the most goals, 804+, in professional games excluding friendly games. In total with friendly games he is recorded to have scored a minimum of 1467 goals. This makes him the most prolific scorer of all time and was awarded the “Golden Ball” as the greatest goal scorer of the 20th Century by the International Federation of Football Historians and Statisticians.

Defending Champions Uruguay refused to play in the World Cup in Italy because Italy had snubbed their invitation 4 years earlier in Uruguay. They remain the only team ever in the History of FIFA World Cups to not defend their World Cup Crown. This was a definite blow to the World Cup.


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