FIFA WORLD CUP - RUSSIA 2018

WC ITALY 1938 – An Overview

WC ITALY 1938 – An Overview

Action from Brazil's incredible 6-5 defeat of Poland

ITALY 1938 - An Overview

Just as Mussolini used Italy in 1934, Hitler used the 1936 Olympics as a weapon of propaganda.

So, to avoid any further political controversy, FIFA chose a so-called neutral venue: the federation’s birthplace of France for the 1938 edition of the tournament.

Action from Hungary's 2-0 win over Switzerland in the quarter-finals

Because of South American anger over the decision to hold a second successive World Cup in Europe, neither Uruguay nor Argentina entered the competition, while Spain became the first country to be prevented from competing due to the ongoing Spanish civil war.

It was the first time that the hosts, France, and the title holders, Italy, qualified automatically. Reigning champions were given automatic entry into the World Cup from 1938 until 2006, when this was abolished.

Italy retained their title after a 4-2 victory over Hungary in the final, meaning the Azzurri’s 1934 and 1938 teams became the only ones to have won two World Cups under the same coach, Vittorio Pozzo.

According to legend, Italian leader Benito Mussolini sent a telegram to the team before the start of the tournament, saying ‘Vincere o morire!’ (translated as ‘Win or die!’). This was apparently not meant as a literal threat, but instead just an encouragement to win.

There have been three occasions when two hat-tricks have been scored in the same World Cup match. Two occurred during 1938: when Sweden defeated Cuba, Gustav Wetterstrom and Harry Andersson, both playing for Sweden, scored three goals. In the Brazil v Poland game, Leonidas did it for Brazil and Ernest Wilimowski for Poland.

The tournament also saw the first and only participation from Cuba and the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia).

Due to the Second World War, the World Cup would not be held for another 12 years, until 1950. As a result, Italy were the reigning World Cup holders for a record 16 years, from 1934 to 1950.

VITAL STATISTICS

WC FLAG FRANCE
Host country: France
Dates: June 4-19 (16 days)
Teams: 15 (from 4 confederations)
Venues: 10
Champions: Italy
Runners-up: Hungary
Third place: Brazil
Fourth place: Sweden
Matches played: 18
Goals scored: 84 (4.7/game)
Attendance: 375,700 (20,870/game)
Top scorer: Leonidas BRA (7 goals)

THE FINAL - Italy 4 Hungary 2

Italy beat Hungary 4-2 in the third World Cup final, which took place at the Stade Olympique de Colombes in Paris on June 19.

After hosts France were eliminated, interest in the tournament fell and this was reflected in the attendances for the later matches. However, the crowd for the final was eager to see whether the Hungarians, with their free-flowing style of football, could halt Vittorio Pozzo’s Italian champions.

The Azzurri took the lead after only six minutes, but Hungary equalised two minutes later. The Italians scored again after 16 and 35 minutes and took a 3–1 advantage into the half-time interval.

Hungary pulled a goal back with 20 minutes remaining, but Italy restored their two-goal advantage eight minutes from time to be crowned World Cup winners again.

Pozzo said this team was even better than the one winning four years earlier and for the manager to oversee two different World Cup winning teams was a remarkable achievement and earned him a place in the game’s history.

The 1938 success was to be his last triumph. Shortly afterwards Europe was at war and the World Cup, along with all other major sporting events, came to an end while countries fought for superiority on the battlefields instead of the pitch.

Italy beat Hungary 4-2 in the third World Cup final, which took place at the Stade Olympique de Colombes in Paris on June 19.

After hosts France were eliminated, interest in the tournament fell and this was reflected in the attendances for the later matches. However, the crowd for the final was eager to see whether the Hungarians, with their free-flowing style of football, could halt Vittorio Pozzo’s Italian champions.

The Azzurri took the lead after only six minutes, but Hungary equalised two minutes later. The Italians scored again after 16 and 35 minutes and took a 3–1 advantage into the half-time interval.

Hungary pulled a goal back with 20 minutes remaining, but Italy restored their two-goal advantage eight minutes from time to be crowned World Cup winners again.

Pozzo said this team was even better than the one winning four years earlier and for the manager to oversee two different World Cup winning teams was a remarkable achievement and earned him a place in the game’s history.

The 1938 success was to be his last triumph. Shortly afterwards Europe was at war and the World Cup, along with all other major sporting events, came to an end while countries fought for superiority on the battlefields instead of the pitch.

THE ROAD TO THE FINAL

ITALY
Round 1: Norway 2-1 (aet)
Quarter-final France 3-1
Semi-final Brazil 2-1
HUNGARY
Round 1: Dutch East Indies 6-0
Quarter-final Switzerland 2-0
Semi-final Sweden 5-1
Vittorio Pozzo (C) coached Italy to their second consecutive World Cup triumph
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