The Second Edition - Italy 1934
The second edition of the FIFA World Cup was held in Italy in 1934. The tournament was held between the 27th of May till the 10th June 1934.
This was the first edition that the National Teams had to qualify to compete for the Rimet Cup.
The decision to select the bid of the Italian Football Association was a lengthy one. After eight meetings Italy’s bid was chosen as the host nation at a meeting n Stockholm on 9th October 1932. The main reason for selected the Italian bid was because that government had committed a budget of 3.5 million lire to the tournament.
32 teams applied for the tournament so qualifying matches where need so that the 16 finalist would be known. Uruguay the reigning champions rejected the invite to automatically participate in the finals to protest against the fact that the European teams did not make it for the previous edition held in South America. This edition was the only edition that the reigning champions did not participate. The Home Nations (England, Scotland Wales and Northern Ireland) expelled themselves from FIFA after comments that expressed Charles Sutcliffe’s views on the national teams within the United Kingdom.
Despite being the hosts Italy had to qualify to the tournament. This was the first and last occasion were the host team had to play the qualification round and from this edition onwards the hosts participated automatically in the tournament. The qualifying matches were arranged on a geographical basis. Withdrawals by Chile and Peru meant Argentina and Brazil qualified without playing a single match.
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.
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. 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
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.
All eight first round matches kicked off at the same time. Hosts and favourites Italy won handsomely, defeating the USA 7–1
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. 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. Fellow South Americans Brazil also suffered an early exit. Spain beat them comfortably; 3–1 the final score.
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 Italy won the replay 1–0, their play so physical that at least three Spaniards had to depart the field with injuries. 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.