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1934 World Cup

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1934 World Cup

1934 FIFA World Cup
World's Cup[1]
Campionato Mondiale di Calcio
1934 FIFA World Cup official poster
Tournament details
Host country Italy
Dates 27 May – 10 June
Teams 16 (from 4 confederations)
Venue(s)(in 8 host cities)
Final positions
Champions  Italy (1st title)
Runners-up  Czechoslovakia
Third place  Germany
Fourth place  Austria
Tournament statistics
Matches played 17
Goals scored 70 (4.12 per match)
Attendance 358,000 (21,059 per match)
Top scorer(s) Czechoslovakia Oldřich Nejedlý (5 goals)

The 1934 FIFA World Cup was the second FIFA World Cup, the world championship for men's national association football teams. It took place in Italy from 27 May to 10 June 1934.

The 1934 World Cup was the first for which teams had to qualify to take part. Thirty-two nations entered the competition, and after qualification, 16 teams participated in the finals tournament. Italy became the second World Cup champions, beating Czechoslovakia 2–1 in the final.

Host selection

Main article: FIFA World Cup hosts

After a lengthy decision-making process in which FIFA's executive committee met eight times,[2] Italy was chosen as the host nation at a meeting in Stockholm on 9 October 1932.[3] The decision was taken by the executive committee without a ballot of members.[3] The Italian bid was chosen in preference to one from Sweden;[4] the Italian government assigned a budget of 3.5 million lire to the tournament.[5]

Qualification and participants

32 countries applied to enter the tournament, so qualifying matches were required to thin the field to 16.[3] Even so, there were several notable absentees. Reigning World Cup holders Uruguay declined to participate, in protest at the refusal of several European countries to travel to South America for the previous World Cup, which Uruguay had hosted in 1930.[6] As a result, the 1934 World Cup is the only one in which the reigning champions did not participate.[7] The Home Nations, in a period of self-imposed exile from FIFA, also refused to participate. Football Association committee member Charles Sutcliffe's view was typical of British attitudes: "the national associations of England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland have quite enough to do in their own International Championship which seems to me a far better World Championship than the one to be staged in Rome".[8]

Despite their role as hosts, Italy were still required to qualify, the first and only time the host nation was not granted automatic qualification.[3] The qualifying matches were arranged on a geographical basis. Withdrawals by Chile and Peru meant Argentina and Brazil qualified without playing a single match.[9]

Twelve of the sixteen places were allocated to Europe, three to the Americas, and one to Africa or Asia (including Turkey). Only ten of the 32 entrants, and four of the 16 qualified teams (Brazil, Argentina, United States and Egypt, the first African team to qualify for a World Cup finals tournament), were from outside Europe. The last place in the finals was contested between the United States and Mexico only three days before the start of the tournament in a one-off match in Rome, which the United States won.[10]

The majority of the 16 teams were making their first World Cup appearance. These included nine of the twelve European teams (Italy, Germany, Spain, the Netherlands, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Sweden, Austria, and Switzerland) together with Egypt. Egypt would not qualify for another World Cup finals until the next time the competition was held in Italy, in 1990.

Italy as hosts

Like the Berlin Olympics two years later, the 1934 World Cup was a high-profile instance of a sporting event being used for overt political gain. Benito Mussolini was keen to use the tournament as a means of promoting fascism.

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A map showing the locations of the venues used at the 1934 FIFA World Cup

The number of supporters travelling from other countries was higher than at any previous football tournament, including 7,000 from the Netherlands and 10,000 each from Austria and Switzerland.[11]

Eight cities hosted the tournament:


The group stage used in the first World Cup was discarded in favour of a straight knockout tournament. If a match was tied after ninety minutes, then thirty minutes of extra time were played. If the score was still tied after extra time, the match would be replayed the next day.

The eight seeded teams—Argentina, Brazil, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Austria, Czechoslovakia and Hungary—were kept apart in the first round.


For a list of all squads that appeared in the final tournament, see 1934 FIFA World Cup squads.

All eight first round matches kicked off at the same time.[12] Hosts and favourites Italy won handsomely, defeating the USA 7–1; the New York Times correspondent wrote that "only the fine goal-tending of Julius Hjulian of Chicago kept the score as low as it was".[13]

Internal disputes meant Argentina's squad for the tournament did not contain a single member of the team which had reached the final in 1930.[14] Against Sweden in Bologna, Argentina twice took the lead, but two goals by Sven Jonasson and a winner by Knut Kroon gave Sweden a 3–2 victory.[15] Fellow South Americans Brazil also suffered an early exit. Spain beat them comfortably; 3–1 the final score. [16]

For the only time in World Cup history, the last eight consisted entirely of European teams—Austria, Czechoslovakia, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. All four non-European teams who made the journey to Italy were eliminated after one match.

In the quarter-finals, the first replayed match in World Cup history took place, when Italy and Spain drew 1–1 after extra time. The match was played in a highly aggressive manner with several players of both sides injured: rough play injured the Spanish goalkeeper Ricardo Zamora in the first match, leaving him unable to participate in the replay, while on the other side an even rougher play by Spaniards broke the leg of the Italian player Mario Pizziolo who would not play in the national team anymore[17] Italy won the replay 1–0, their play so physical that at least three Spaniards had to depart the field with injuries.[18] Italy then went on to beat Austria in the semifinals by the same score. Meanwhile, Czechoslovakia secured their place in the final by beating Germany 3–1.

The Stadium of the National Fascist Party was the venue for the final. With 80 minutes played, the Czechoslovakians were ahead 1–0. The Italians managed to score before the final whistle, and then added another goal in extra time to be crowned World Cup Winners.

Italy's total of three goals conceded in five matches was a record low for a world champion. It was matched by England in 1966 (who played six matches) and Brazil in 1994 (who played seven), but was not surpassed until 1998 when France won the World Cup conceding only two goals over seven games, Italy in 2006 and Spain in 2010.


First round Quarter-finals Semi-finals Final
27 May – Rome            
  Italy  7
31 May – Florence
(replayed 1 June)
  United States  1  
  Italy  1 (1)
27 May – Genoa
    Spain  1 (0)  
  Spain  3
3 June – Milan
  Brazil  1  
  Italy  1
27 May – Turin
    Austria  0  
  Austria (a.e.t.)  3
31 May – Bologna
  France  2  
  Austria  2
27 May – Naples
    Hungary  1  
  Hungary  4
10 June – Rome
  Egypt  2  
  Italy (a.e.t.)  2
27 May – Trieste
    Czechoslovakia  1
  Czechoslovakia  2
31 May – Turin
  Romania  1  
  Czechoslovakia  3
27 May – Milan
     Switzerland  2  
   Switzerland  3
3 June – Rome
  Netherlands  2  
  Czechoslovakia  3
27 May – Florence
    Germany  1   Third place
  Germany  5
31 May – Milan 7 June – Naples
  Belgium  2  
  Germany  2   Germany  3
27 May – Bologna
    Sweden  1     Austria  2
  Sweden  3
  Argentina  2  

First round

27 May 1934
16:30 (CEST)
Spain  3 – 1  Brazil
Iraragorri Goal 18' (pen.)25'[19]
Lángara Goal 29'
Report Leônidas Goal 55'
Stadio Luigi Ferraris, Genoa
Attendance: 21,000
Referee: Alfred Birlem (Germany)

27 May 1934
16:30 (CEST)
Hungary  4 – 2  Egypt
Teleki Goal 11'
Toldi Goal 27'61'
Vincze Goal 53'
Report Fawzi Goal 31'39'
Stadio Giorgio Ascarelli, Naples
Attendance: ~12,000
Referee: Rinaldo Barlassina (Italy)

27 May 1934
16:30 (CEST)
Switzerland   3 – 2  Netherlands
Kielholz Goal 7'43'[20]
Abegglen Goal 69'
Report Smit Goal 19'
Vente Goal 84'
Stadio San Siro, Milan
Attendance: ~40,000
Referee: Ivan Eklind (Sweden)

27 May 1934
16:30 (CEST)
Italy  7 – 1  United States
Schiavio Goal 18'29'64'
Orsi Goal 20'69'
Ferrari Goal 63'
Meazza Goal 90'[21]
Report Donelli Goal 57'
Stadio Nazionale PNF, Rome
Attendance: ~13,000
Referee: Rene Mercet (Switzerland)

27 May 1934
16:30 (CEST)
Czechoslovakia  2 – 1  Romania
Puč Goal 50'
Nejedlý Goal 67'
Report Dobay Goal 11'
Stadio Littorio, Trieste
Attendance: ~8,000
Referee: John Langenus (Belgium)

27 May 1934
16:30 (CEST)
Sweden  3 – 2  Argentina
Jonasson Goal 9'67'
Kroon Goal 79'
Report Belis Goal 4'
Galateo Goal 48'[22]
Stadio Littoriale, Bologna
Attendance: ~15,000
Referee: Eugen Braun (Austria)

27 May 1934
16:30 (CEST)
Austria  3 – 2 (a.e.t.)  France
Sindelar Goal 44'
Schall Goal 93'
Bican Goal 109'
Report Nicolas Goal 18'
Verriest Goal 116' (pen.)[23]
Stadio Benito Mussolini, Turin
Attendance: ~20,000
Referee: Johannes van Moorsel (Netherlands)

27 May 1934
16:30 (CEST)
Germany  5 – 2  Belgium
Kobierski Goal 25'
Siffling Goal 49'
Conen Goal 66'70'87'
Report Voorhoof Goal 29'43'
Stadio Giovanni Berta, Florence
Attendance: ~8,000
Referee: Francesco Mattea (Italy)


31 May 1934
16:30 (CEST)
Austria  2 – 1  Hungary
Horvath Goal 8'
Zischek Goal 51'
Report Sárosi Goal 60' (pen.)
Stadio Littoriale, Bologna
Attendance: ~25,000
Referee: Francesco Mattea (Italy)

31 May 1934
16:30 (CEST)
Italy  1 – 1 (a.e.t.)  Spain
Ferrari Goal 44' Report Regueiro Goal 30'
Stadio Giovanni Berta, Florence
Attendance: ~35,000
Referee: Louis Baert (Belgium)

31 May 1934
16:30 (CEST)
Germany  2 – 1  Sweden
Hohmann Goal 60'63' Report Dunker Goal 82'
Stadio San Siro, Milan
Attendance: ~15,000
Referee: Rinaldo Barlassina (Italy)

31 May 1934
16:30 (CEST)
Czechoslovakia  3 – 2   Switzerland
Svoboda Goal 24'
Sobotka Goal 49'
Nejedlý Goal 82'
Report Kielholz Goal 18'
Jäggi Goal 78'
Stadio Benito Mussolini, Turin
Attendance: ~12,000
Referee: Alois Beranek (Austria)
1 June 1934
16:30 (CEST)
Italy  1 – 0  Spain
Meazza Goal 11' Report
Stadio Giovanni Berta, Florence
Attendance: ~45,000
Referee: Rene Mercet (Switzerland)


3 June 1934
16:30 (CEST)
Italy  1 – 0  Austria
Guaita Goal 19' Report
Stadio San Siro, Milan
Attendance: ~60,000
Referee: Ivan Eklind (Sweden)

3 June 1934
16:30 (CEST)
Czechoslovakia  3 – 1  Germany
Nejedlý Goal 19'71'80'[24][25][26] Report Noack Goal 62'[27]
Stadio Nazionale PNF, Rome
Attendance: ~10,000
Referee: Rinaldo Barlassina (Italy)

Third-place match

7 June 1934
18:00 (CEST)
Germany  3 – 2  Austria
Lehner Goal 1'42'[28]
Conen Goal 27'[20]
Report Horvath Goal 28'[29]
Sesta Goal 54'[30]
Stadio Giorgio Ascarelli, Naples
Attendance: ~8,000
Referee: Albino Carraro (Italy)


10 June 1934
17:30 (CEST)
Italy  2 – 1 (a.e.t.)  Czechoslovakia
Orsi Goal 81'
Schiavio Goal 95'
Report Puč Goal 71'[31]
Stadio Nazionale PNF, Rome
Attendance: ~45,000
Referee: Ivan Eklind (Sweden)


FIFA Retrospective Ranking

In 1986, FIFA published a report that ranked all teams in each World Cup up to and including 1986, based on progress in the competition, overall results and quality of the opposition.[32] The rankings for the 1934 tournament were as follows:


  1.  Italy
  2.  Czechoslovakia

3rd and 4th place

  1.  Germany
  2.  Austria

Eliminated in the quarter-finals

  1.  Spain
  2.  Hungary
  3.   Switzerland
  4.  Sweden

Eliminated in the round of 16

  1.  France,  Argentina,  Netherlands (same rank)
  2.  Romania
  3.  Egypt
  4.  Brazil
  5.  Belgium
  6.  United States



External links

  • FIFA page for Italy 1934
  • Details at RSSSF; note that they often disagree with FIFA on goal scorers and times
  • History of the World Cup-1934
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