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1938 France World Cup

Written by Sebastien on 16 November 2012. Posted in World Cup History

1938, it was the turn of South America to host the third World Cup and Argentina was the main candidate country. The president of FIFA Jules Rimet had a different view and wanted to be his own country (France) the one that would host the 1938 World Cup. Naturally, none member of the FIFA disagreed with the President and his plans turned into reality.
FIFA’s decision created many reactions, with many south american teams snubbing, finally, the event and refusing to participate. Firstly, Argentina refused to take part in the qualifying stage. Later, Uruguay was the next team to snub the competition and other countries followed their example except for Brazil. The same happened with British teams (Ireland was the only exception. Austria didn’t finally participate in the competition despite the fact that they had won their qualification ticket.

The "miracle team" was disbanded after the annexation in 1938 by Hitler in Germany and the creation of so-called «Anschluss» (Reunification). Two of their players strengthened the team of Switzerland and the rest played for the Germans. Austria is considered to be the best team of this period and if they participated in the World Cup they would possibly reach the final and change forever the World Cup History.

The favorite to win the World Cup was Italy (holder of the Cup and much differentiated compared to the team of 1934), Hungary and Brazil. Brazilian coach took the tragic decision not to pick Leonidas at the starting eleven in the semi final against Italy, intending to rest him for the final match that was following. Brazilians paid the arrogance of their coach to keep the best player of the competition at the bench and eventually lost by 2-1. Italy then made it to the final, where they faced Hungary. The final score was 4-2 and Giuseppe Meatsa’s Italy was again the World Cup Champion.

Unfortunately, the competition was not held for the next 12 years, as the Germans invaded Poland and the worst war of all time, the Second World War, took place.

Did you know that ..

Cuba became the first country outside Europe and South America who managed to qualify from the first stage of the World Cup, to be eliminated then by Sweden losing by 8-0.

FIFA established the automatic qualification of the host country as well as the defending country’s team in the final stage. So, Italy and France did not have to participate in qualifying stage.

The dictator of Brazil Getulio Vargas had promised a big house for each player of the national team in case that Brazil won the trophy.

The 11 goals of the match of Brazil against Poland (6-5) were the most that have been scored in a world cup final stage fixture. This record was finished in 1954 in Switzerland.

One day before the final, Italy's players received a telegram from the dictator Benito Mussolini, in which he wrote them: "win or die" (victory or death). The Hungarian goalkeeper is quoted as saying that "I let them to score four times, but I saved their lives."

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