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. Reigning champions Uruguay refused to participate due to the fact that just four European teams had accepted their invitation to the 1930 tournament.[2] Italy became the second World Cup champions and the first European team to win, beating Czechoslovakia 2–1 in the final.

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.[3][2][4]

The Federale 102, which was manufactured in Italy, was the match ball provided for the 1934 World Cup.[5]

Host selection

After a lengthy decision-making process in which FIFA's executive committee met eight times,[6] Italy was chosen as the host nation at a meeting in Stockholm on 9 October 1932.[7] The decision was taken by the executive committee without a ballot of members. The Italian bid was chosen in preference to one from Sweden;[8] the Italian government assigned a budget of 3.5 million lire to the tournament.[9]

Qualification and participants

36 countries applied to enter the tournament, so qualifying matches were required to thin the field to 16.[10] 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. As a result, the 1934 World Cup is the only one in which the reigning champions did not participate.[11][12] The British Home Nations, in a period of self-imposed exile from FIFA, also refused to participate, even though FIFA had offered England and Scotland direct entry to the tournament without qualification.[13] Football Association committee member Charles Sutcliffe called the tournament "a joke" and claimed that "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".[14]

Despite their role as hosts, Italy were still required to qualify, the first and only time the host nation needed to do so.[15] The qualifying matches were arranged on a geographical basis. Withdrawals by Chile and Peru meant Argentina and Brazil qualified without playing a single match.[16]

Twelve of the 16 places were allocated to Europe, three to the Americas, and one to Africa or Asia (including Turkey). Only 10 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.[17]

List of qualified teams

The following 16 teams qualified for the final tournament.

10 of these teams made their first World Cup appearance.[18] This included 9 of the 12 European teams (Italy, Germany, Spain, the Netherlands, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Sweden, Austria, and Switzerland) as well as Egypt.[18] Egypt was the first team from Africa in the finals and would not qualify again until the next time the competition was held in Italy, in 1990.


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.[19]

Bologna Florence Genoa
Stadio Littoriale Stadio Giovanni Berta Stadio Luigi Ferraris
Capacity: 50,100 Capacity: 47,290 Capacity: 36,703
Stadio Littoriale Bologna.jpg Stadio Comunale Giovanni Berta.jpg Vecchio Stadio Marassi 1.jpg
Stadio San Siro
Capacity: 55,000
Stadio Benito Mussolini
Capacity: 28,140
Stadio Comunale Benito Mussolini.jpg
Naples Rome Trieste
Stadio Giorgio Ascarelli Stadio Nazionale PNF Stadio Littorio
Capacity: 40,000 Capacity: 47,300 Capacity: 8,000
StadioPartenopeo.jpg Stadio Pnf.jpg StadiodelLittorio.jpg


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 was 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.


Qualifying countries and their results

All eight first round matches kicked off at the same time.[20] 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".[21]

From left to right: Italian manager Pozzo, Monzeglio, Bertolini, the goalkeeper and captain Combi, Monti (half-hidden) and the assistant manager Carcano (behind) before the start of extra time in the victorius final versus Czechoslovakia

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.[22] 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.[23] Fellow South Americans Brazil also suffered an early exit. Spain beat them comfortably; 3–1 the final score.[24]

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 rough play by Spaniards broke the leg of the Italian Mario Pizziolo who would not play in the national team again.[25] Italy won the replay 1–0; their play so physical that at least three Spaniards had to depart the field with injuries.[26] Italy then went on to beat Austria in the semi-finals 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 Czechoslovaks led 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.


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

Final tournament


Round of 16Quarter-finalsSemi-finalsFinal
27 May – Rome
31 May and 1 June – Florence
 United States1
 Italy1 (1)
27 May – Genoa
 Spain1 (0)
3 June – Milan
27 May – Turin
 Austria (aet)3
31 May – Bologna
27 May – Naples
10 June – Rome
 Italy (aet)2
27 May – Trieste
31 May – Turin
27 May – Milan
3 June – Rome
27 May – Florence
 Germany1 Third place
31 May – Milan7 June – Naples
 Germany2 Germany3
27 May – Bologna
 Sweden1  Austria2

Round of 16

Spain 3–1 Brazil
Iraragorri Goal 18' (pen.)25'
Lángara Goal 29'
Report Leônidas Goal 55'
Attendance: 21,000

Hungary 4–2 Egypt
Teleki Goal 11'
Toldi Goal 31'61'
Vincze Goal 53'
Report Fawzi Goal 35'39'

Switzerland  3–2 Netherlands
Kielholz Goal 7'43'
Abegglen Goal 66'
Report Smit Goal 29'
Vente Goal 69'
Attendance: 33,000
Referee: Ivan Eklind (Sweden)

Italy 7–1 United States
Schiavio Goal 18'29'64'
Orsi Goal 20'69'
Ferrari Goal 63'
Meazza Goal 90'
Report Donelli Goal 57'
Attendance: 25,000

Czechoslovakia 2–1 Romania
Puč Goal 50'
Nejedlý Goal 67'
Report Dobay Goal 11'
Attendance: 9,000

Sweden 3–2 Argentina
Jonasson Goal 9'67'
Kroon Goal 79'
Report Belis Goal 4'
Galateo Goal 48'
Attendance: 14,000
Referee: Eugen Braun (Austria)

Austria 3–2 (a.e.t.) France
Sindelar Goal 44'
Schall Goal 93'
Bican Goal 109'
Report Nicolas Goal 18'
Verriest Goal 116' (pen.)

Germany 5–2 Belgium
Kobierski Goal 25'
Siffling Goal 49'
Conen Goal 66'70'87'
Report Voorhoof Goal 29'43'


Austria 2–1 Hungary
Horvath Goal 8'
Zischek Goal 51'
Report Sárosi Goal 60' (pen.)
Attendance: 23,000

Italy 1–1 (a.e.t.) Spain
Ferrari Goal 44' Report Regueiro Goal 30'
Attendance: 35,000
Referee: Louis Baert (Belgium)

Germany 2–1 Sweden
Hohmann Goal 60'63' Report Dunker Goal 82'
Attendance: 3,000

Czechoslovakia 3–2  Switzerland
Svoboda Goal 24'
Sobotka Goal 49'
Nejedlý Goal 82'
Report Kielholz Goal 18'
Jäggi Goal 78'
Attendance: 12,000


Italy 1–0 Spain
Meazza Goal 11' Report


Italy 1–0 Austria
Guaita Goal 19' Report
Attendance: 35,000
Referee: Ivan Eklind (Sweden)

Czechoslovakia 3–1 Germany
Nejedlý Goal 21'69'80' Report Noack Goal 62'
Attendance: 15,000

Third place play-off

Germany 3–2 Austria
Lehner Goal 1'42'
Conen Goal 27'
Report Horvath Goal 28'
Sesta Goal 54'


Italy 2–1 (a.e.t.) Czechoslovakia
Orsi Goal 81'
Schiavio Goal 95'
Report Puč Goal 71'
Attendance: 55,000
Referee: Ivan Eklind (Sweden)


With five goals, Oldřich Nejedlý was the top scorer in the tournament. In total, 70 goals were scored by 45 players, with none of them credited as an own goal.

5 goals
4 goals
3 goals
2 goals
1 goal

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 (not counting replay results).[27][18] The rankings for the 1934 tournament were as follows:

R Team P W D L GF GA GD Pts.
1  Italy 4 3 1 0 11 3 +8 7
2  Czechoslovakia 4 3 0 1 9 6 +3 6
3  Germany 4 3 0 1 11 8 +3 6
4  Austria 4 2 0 2 7 7 0 4
Eliminated in the quarter-finals
5  Spain 2 1 1 0 4 2 +2 3
6  Hungary 2 1 0 1 5 4 +1 2
7   Switzerland 2 1 0 1 5 5 0 2
8  Sweden 2 1 0 1 4 4 0 2
Eliminated in the round of 16
9  Argentina 1 0 0 1 2 3 −1 0
 France 1 0 0 1 2 3 −1 0
 Netherlands 1 0 0 1 2 3 −1 0
12  Romania 1 0 0 1 1 2 −1 0
13  Egypt 1 0 0 1 2 4 −2 0
14  Brazil 1 0 0 1 1 3 −2 0
15  Belgium 1 0 0 1 2 5 −3 0
16  United States 1 0 0 1 1 7 −6 0


Throughout the years, several sources have reported that the tournament could have been marred by corruption and influenced by Italian dictator Benito Mussolini, who used the tournament as a propaganda tool for fascism. According to these accusations, Mussolini personally selected referees for the matches where the Italian national team were playing, while the Italian government meddled in FIFA's organisation of events, re-organizing the logistics of the matches to further promote fascism.[3][2][28][4] Nonetheless, Italy also won the following edition of the World Cup (held in France) as well as the Olympic football tournament in 1936.


  1. ^ FIFA book of statutes, Roma 1934, prtd. Gebr. Fey & Kratz, Zürich, FIFA internal library no. C br. 18, 1955.
  2. ^ a b c Hart, Jim (27 July 2016). "When the World Cup rolled into fascist Italy in 1934". These Football Times. Retrieved 14 June 2018.
  3. ^ a b Fascism and Football. BBC. 2009.
  4. ^ a b Weiner, Matthew (8 June 2010). "When worlds collide: Soccer vs. politics". CNN. Retrieved 14 June 2018.
  5. ^ "FIFA World Cup 1934 Italy. Federale 102". WorldCupBalls.info. Retrieved 28 February 2018.
  6. ^ Freddi 2006:15
  7. ^ Hunt 2006:23
  8. ^ "History of FIFA – The first FIFA World Cup". FIFA. Retrieved 14 June 2018.
  9. ^ Goldblatt 2007:255
  10. ^ Hunt 2006:23
  11. ^ Freddi 2006:15
  12. ^ Glanville 2005:25
  13. ^ Beck, Peter J. (1999). "British football and FIFA, 1928-46: Going to war or peacefully coexistence?". FIFA.com. Retrieved 27 February 2018.
  14. ^ Taylor, Matthew (2005). The Leaguers: The Making of Professional Football in England 1900-1939. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press. p. 217. ISBN 9781781387030.
  15. ^ Hunt 2006:23
  16. ^ Crouch 2002:14
  17. ^ Brewin, John; Williamson, Martin (1 May 2014). "World Cup History: 1934". ESPN. Retrieved 15 June 2018.
  18. ^ a b c "FIFA World Cup: Milestones, facts & figures. Statistical Kit 7" (PDF). FIFA. 26 March 2013. Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 May 2013.
  19. ^ Murray 1998:69
  20. ^ Hunt 2006:26
  21. ^ Wangerin 2006:98
  22. ^ Glanville 2005:26
  23. ^ Freddi 2006:20
  24. ^ Hunt 2006:27
  25. ^ Baker 1988:248
  26. ^ Wilson 2009:71
  27. ^ "Permanent Table" (PDF). FIFA. Retrieved 15 June 2018.
  28. ^ "Research: World Cup matches fixed in '34, '78". ESPN. 25 April 2013. Retrieved 14 June 2018.


  • Baker, William Joseph (1988), Sports in the Western World, Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, ISBN 978-0-252-06042-7
  • Crouch, Terry (2002), The World Cup: The Complete History, London: Aurum, ISBN 978-1-85410-843-2
  • Freddi, Cris (2006), Complete Book of the World Cup 2006, London: HarperCollins, ISBN 0-00-722916-X
  • Glanville, Brian (2005), The Story of the World Cup, London: Faber and Faber, ISBN 978-0-571-22944-4
  • Goldblatt, David (2007), The Ball is Round: A Global History of Football, London: Penguin, ISBN 978-0-14-101582-8
  • Hunt, Chris (2006), World Cup Stories: The History of the FIFA World Cup, Ware: Interact, ISBN 978-0-9549819-2-1
  • Murray, Bill (1998), The World's Game: A History of Soccer, Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, ISBN 978-0-252-06718-1
  • Wangerin, Dave (2006), Soccer in a Football World, London: WSC Books, ISBN 978-0-9540134-7-9
  • Wilson, Jonathan (2009), Inverting the Pyramid: The History of Football Tactics, London: Orion, ISBN 978-1-4091-0204-5

External links