Italy 1934 World Cup
The second staging of the World Cup, took the tournament to Europe as Italy was chosen as hosts. The competition was unique in the fact that the reigning champions, Uruguay, were conspicuous in their absence. The winners of 1930 were still smarting that so few European nations attended the first World Cup and remain to this day the only holders of the competition not to line up at the following competition. Host nation Italy was also made to qualify, something that has not happened in the tournaments that have followed.
Sixteen teams began World Cup ’34 and the tournament was staged in a knock out format, where the victors of each tie would progress to the subsequent round. In an event that would be unthinkable today, Brazil was eliminated in the first round, succumbing to a 3-1 defeat by Spain. In the early stages of the competition’s conception, Brazil was not the powerhouse that football knows and loves so well. Spain was joined in the quarter finals by seven other European nations. Germany overcame Sweden 2-1, with two goals from Hohmann. Czechoslovakia and Switzerland contested a hard fought, entertaining match where the eastern Europeans emerged victorious by three goals to two. In the remaining two games, Austria beat Hungary and Italy defeated Spain 1-0 in a replayed match.
In the semi finals Czechoslovakia overcame Germany three goals to one thanks to a hat trick from star striker and golden boot winner, Oldrich Nejedly. They were joined in the final by the host nation Italy.
In the first ever third fourth place match, German overcame neighbours Austria three goals to two. In the final host nation Italy and European rivals, Czechoslovakia, contested a close fought match. The Azurri would emerge as victors with a 2-1 victory. After a goal less first half the Czech’s took the lead with less than fifteen minutes remaining. Italy struck back five minutes later and the game went into extra time. With five minutes gone in the first period of extra time, the Italians struck again through Schiavio to give the hosts a lead they would not relinquish as they went on to lift the trophy.
Goals: 70 (average 4.1 per game)
Attendance: 358 000 (average per match 21 058)
Golden Boot Winner: Oldrich Nejedly (Czecholsovakia) 5 goal