Football World Cup - 1934: Italy Content from the guide to life, the universe and everything

Football World Cup - 1934: Italy

0 Conversations

The World Cup: An Introduction | 1930: Uruguay | 1934: Italy | 1938: France | 1950: Brazil
1954: Switzerland | 1958: Sweden | 1962: Chile | 1966: England | 1970: Mexico
1974: West Germany | 1978: Argentina | 1982: Spain | 1986: Mexico | 1990: Italy | 1994: USA
1998: France | 2002: Japan and South Korea

Unlike the 1930 World Cup, where all the entrants were invited, pre-qualification was necessary for the 1934 tournament in Italy. Even the hosts had to qualify to be allowed to participate in their own tournament, and the organising committee must have breathed a huge sigh of relief when Italy beat Greece 4-0 in the decisive match.

Once again, football politics was to dictate who entered and who stayed at home. The British countries still considered themselves above international competition. Uruguay, the holders, were still upset at what they perceived to be a European boycott four years earlier, and decided to stay at home. Then Argentina, furious that Italy had poached three of their best players, claiming them to be of Italian descent1, deliberately sent a weakened team.

In all, 32 countries entered the 1934 tournament, 16 countries reaching the final tournament.

The Tournament

With Uruguay absent and Argentina under-strength, it wasn't too surprising that the quarter-finalists were all European. The hosts met Spain in a keenly-contested game in Florence that was played in stifling heat, and ended 1-1 after extra time. The rules called for a replay the following day, and both coaches made numerous changes to their team line-ups for the replay. There were five changes in the Italian team, and seven for Spain.

Even so, the conditions and the circumstances took their toll. Several players collapsed from exhaustion during the replay. In the end Italy won through, Giuseppe Meazza scoring the only goal of the game.

The weather also played a part in the semi-final between Italy and Austria, played in Milan. A torrential storm turned the pitch at the San Siro Stadium into a mud bath. But Meazza rose above the mud to become the local hero once again, scoring the winning goal and putting Italy in the final. There they would meet Czechoslovakia, who'd beaten Germany in the other semi-final.

The final took place in Rome on Sunday 10 June. For a few minutes, it looked as if the home supporters were going to be disappointed, when the Czechoslovakian winger Antonin Puc scored the opening goal with 15 minutes to go. But five minutes later, Raimondo Orsi - one of the players Italy had controversially 'poached' from Argentina - scored an equaliser for the host nation. With the score at 1-1 after 90 minutes, the game went into extra time.

Things looked bad for Italy once again when Meazza was injured in a tackle. But Meazza soldiered on, and there was to be a happy ending for him and for Italy. Despite his injury, he managed to supply the pass from which Angelo Schiavio scored the winner. Italy triumphed 2-1, and once again the World Cup ended with the host nation celebrating victory.

Tournament Trivia

For some inexplicable reason, FIFA decided that Mexico would play the USA in Rome in a final qualifying match for the 1934 finals, three days before the tournament began. The USA won the match 4-2, which meant the Mexicans had travelled all the way to Italy and did not even get an opportunity to play in the tournament proper.

The 1934 World Cup final is unique in that the captains of the two finalists were both goalkeepers. Frantisek Planicka of Czechoslovakia and Giampiero Combi of Italy faced each other as opposing goalkeepers and captains.

For The Record

First Round

Italy 7 : 1 USA

Czechoslovakia 2 : 1 Romania

Germany 5 : 2 Belgium

Austria 3 : 2 France after extra time

Spain 3 : 1 Brazil

Switzerland 3 : 2 Netherlands

Sweden 3 : 2 Argentina

Hungary 4 : 2 Egypt


Germany 2 : 1 Sweden

Austria 2 : 1 Hungary

Italy 1 : 1 Spain after extra time
Italy 1 : 0 Spain

Czechoslovakia 3 : 2 Switzerland


Italy 1 : 0 Austria

Czecholsovakia 3 : 1 Germany

Third Place Play-Off
Germany 3 : 2 Austria


Italy 2 : 1 Czechoslovakia after extra time

Tournament Leading Goalscorer
Nejedly (Czechoslovakia) - 5 goals

Other Entries in This Project

1In those days, players could switch their international allegiance, provided they qualified to play for their newly chosen country.

Bookmark on your Personal Space

Conversations About This Entry

There are no Conversations for this Entry

Edited Entry


Infinite Improbability Drive

Infinite Improbability Drive

Read a random Edited Entry

Categorised In:

Write an Entry

"The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a wholly remarkable book. It has been compiled and recompiled many times and under many different editorships. It contains contributions from countless numbers of travellers and researchers."

Write an entry
Read more