1934 FIFA World Cup
World's Cup[1]
Campionato Mondiale di Calcio
Italia 1934
Official poster
Tournament details
Host countryItaly
Dates27 May – 10 June
Teams16 (from 4 confederations)
Venue(s)8 (in 8 host cities)
Final positions
Champions Italy (1st title)
Runners-up Czechoslovakia
Third place Germany
Fourth place Austria
Tournament statistics
Matches played17
Goals scored70 (4.12 per match)
Attendance363,000 (21,353 per match)
Top scorer(s)Czechoslovakia Oldřich Nejedlý
(5 goals)

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

The 1934 World Cup was the first in which teams had to qualify to take part. Thirty-two nations entered the competition; 16 teams would qualify for the final tournament. Reigning champions Uruguay boycotted the tournament as only four European teams had accepted their invitation to the 1930 tournament.[2][3] Italy beat Czechoslovakia 2–1 to become the second World Cup champions and the first European winners.

The 1934 World Cup was marred by being a high-profile instance of a sporting event being used for overt political gain. In particular, Benito Mussolini was keen to use this World Cup as a means of promoting fascism.[4][3] Although some historians and sports journalists have made accusations of corruption and meddling by Mussolini to influence the competition to the benefit of Italy,[5][3] Italy has always claimed that it deserved victory in the competition and the successful national team, considered one of the best in the country's history, emerged victorious also in the Olympic football tournament of 1936 hosted by Germany and in the 1938 World Cup hosted by France.[5][3][6]

The Federale 102 ball, which was manufactured in Italy, was the match ball provided for the 1934 World Cup.[7]

Host selection

Main article: FIFA World Cup hosts

After a lengthy decision-making process in which FIFA's executive committee met eight times,[8] Italy was chosen as the host nation at a meeting in Stockholm on 9 October 1932.[9] The decision was taken by the executive committee without a ballot of members. The Italian bid was chosen in preference to one from Sweden;[2] the Italian government assigned a budget of Lire 3.5 million to the tournament.[10]

Qualification and participants

Main article: 1934 FIFA World Cup qualification

36 countries applied to enter the tournament, so qualifying matches were required to thin the field to 16.[9] 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.[3] As a result, the 1934 World Cup is the only one in which the reigning champions did not participate.[8][11] 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.[12] 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".[13]

Despite their role as hosts, Italy were still required to qualify, the only time the host needed to do so.[9] The qualifying matches were arranged on a geographical basis. Withdrawals by Chile and Peru meant Argentina and Brazil qualified without playing a single match.[14]

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.[15]

List of qualified teams

The following 16 teams qualified for the final tournament.

10 of these teams made their first World Cup appearance.[16] This included 9 of the 12 European teams (Italy, Germany, Spain, the Netherlands, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Sweden, Austria, and Switzerland) as well as Egypt.[16] 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.[17]

Milan Bologna
Stadio San Siro Stadio Littoriale
Capacity: 55,000 Capacity: 50,100
Rome Florence
Stadio Nazionale PNF Stadio Giovanni Berta
Capacity: 47,300 Capacity: 47,290
Naples Genoa Turin Trieste
Stadio Giorgio Ascarelli Stadio Luigi Ferraris Stadio Benito Mussolini Stadio Littorio
Capacity: 40,000 Capacity: 36,703 Capacity: 28,140 Capacity: 8,000


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.


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

Qualifying countries and their results

All eight first-round matches kicked off at the same time.[18] 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".[19]

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 victorious 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. In the end, La Albiceleste would partake with an amateur squad.[20] 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.[21] Fellow South Americans Brazil also suffered an early exit. Spain beat them comfortably; 3–1 the final score.[22]

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.[23] Italy won the replay 1–0; their play so physical that at least three Spaniards had to depart the field with injuries.[24] 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.

Throughout the years, several sources have reported that the tournament was marred by bribery and corruption, and could have been 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 Italy 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.[5][3][25][6] Nonetheless, Italy also won the following edition of the World Cup (held in France) as well as the Olympic football tournament in 1936.


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

Final tournament

Main article: 1934 FIFA World Cup final tournament


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

Round of 16

Spain 3–1 Brazil
Iraragorri 18' (pen.), 25'
Lángara 29'
Report Leônidas 55'
Stadio Luigi Ferraris, Genoa
Attendance: 21,000
Referee: Alfred Birlem (Germany)

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

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

Italy 7–1 United States
Schiavio 18', 29', 64'
Orsi 20', 69'
Ferrari 63'
Meazza 90'
Report Donelli 57'
Stadio Nazionale PNF, Rome
Attendance: 25,000
Referee: René Mercet (Switzerland)

Czechoslovakia 2–1 Romania
Puč 50'
Nejedlý 67'
Report Dobay 11'
Stadio Littorio, Trieste
Attendance: 9,000
Referee: John Langenus (Belgium)

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

Austria 3–2 (a.e.t.) France
Sindelar 44'
Schall 93'
Bican 109'
Report Nicolas 18'
Verriest 116' (pen.)
Stadio Benito Mussolini, Turin
Attendance: 16,000
Referee: Johannes van Moorsel (Netherlands)

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


Austria 2–1 Hungary
Horvath 8'
Zischek 51'
Report Sárosi 60' (pen.)
Stadio Littoriale, Bologna
Attendance: 23,000
Referee: Francesco Mattea (Italy)

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

Germany 2–1 Sweden
Hohmann 60', 63' Report Dunker 82'
Stadio San Siro, Milan
Attendance: 3,000
Referee: Rinaldo Barlassina (Italy)

Czechoslovakia 3–2  Switzerland
Svoboda 24'
Sobotka 49'
Nejedlý 82'
Report Kielholz 18'
Jäggi 78'
Stadio Benito Mussolini, Turin
Attendance: 12,000
Referee: Alois Beranek (Austria)


Italy 1–0 Spain
Meazza 11' Report


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

Czechoslovakia 3–1 Germany
Nejedlý 21', 69', 80' Report Noack 62'
Stadio Nazionale PNF, Rome
Attendance: 15,000
Referee: Rinaldo Barlassina (Italy)

Third place play-off

Germany 3–2 Austria
Lehner 1', 42'
Conen 27'
Report Horvath 28'
Sesta 54'
Stadio Giorgio Ascarelli, Naples
Attendance: 7,000
Referee: Albino Carraro (Italy)


Main article: 1934 FIFA World Cup final

Italy 2–1 (a.e.t.) Czechoslovakia
Orsi 81'
Schiavio 95'
Report Puč 71'
Stadio Nazionale PNF, Rome
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).[26][16] The rankings for the 1934 tournament were as follows:

R Team P W D L GF GA GD Pts.
1  Italy 5 4 1 0 12 3 +9 9
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 3 1 1 1 4 3 +1 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


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  3. ^ a b c d e f Hart, Jim (27 July 2016). "When the World Cup rolled into fascist Italy in 1934". These Football Times. Retrieved 14 June 2018.
  4. ^ de Carvalho 2014
  5. ^ a b c Fascism and Football. BBC. 2009. Archived from the original on 14 November 2021.
  6. ^ a b Weiner, Matthew (8 June 2010). "When worlds collide: Soccer vs. politics". CNN. Retrieved 14 June 2018.
  7. ^ "FIFA World Cup 1934 Italy. Federale 102". WorldCupBalls.info. Retrieved 9 July 2021.
  8. ^ a b Freddi 2006:15
  9. ^ a b c Hunt 2006:23
  10. ^ Goldblatt 2007:255
  11. ^ Glanville 2005:25
  12. ^ Beck, Peter J. (1999). "British football and FIFA, 1928-46: Going to war or peacefully coexistence?". FIFA.com. Archived from the original on 19 October 2015. Retrieved 27 February 2018.
  13. ^ Taylor, Matthew (2005). The Leaguers: The Making of Professional Football in England 1900-1939. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press. p. 217. ISBN 9781781387030.
  14. ^ Crouch 2002:14
  15. ^ Brewin, John; Williamson, Martin (1 May 2014). "World Cup History: 1934". ESPN. Retrieved 15 June 2018.
  16. ^ 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.
  17. ^ Murray 1998:69
  18. ^ Hunt 2006:26
  19. ^ Wangerin 2006:98
  20. ^ Glanville 2005:26
  21. ^ Freddi 2006:20
  22. ^ Hunt 2006:27
  23. ^ Baker 1988:248
  24. ^ Wilson 2009:71
  25. ^ "Research: World Cup matches fixed in '34, '78". ESPN. 25 April 2013. Retrieved 9 July 2021.
  26. ^ "Mexico 1986" (PDF). FIFA. Archived (PDF) from the original on 14 June 2010. Retrieved 8 July 2021.