1938 FIFA World Cup Qualification
Tournament details
Dates16 June 1937 – 1 May 1938
Teams37 (from 3 confederations)
Tournament statistics
Matches played22
Goals scored96 (4.36 per match)
Top scorer(s)Latvia Fricis Kaņeps
Hungary Gyula Zsengellér
(5 goals each)
1934
1950

A total of 37 teams entered the 1938 FIFA World Cup qualification rounds, competing for a total of 16 spots in the final tournament. For the first time the title holders and the host country were given automatic qualification. Therefore, France, as the hosts, and Italy, as the defending champions, qualified automatically, leaving 14 spots open for competition.

Due to the Spanish Civil War, Spain withdrew from the competition. The remaining 34 teams were divided into 12 groups, based on geographical considerations, as follows:

However, due to the withdrawal of Austria after qualifying (they had been annexed by Germany), only 15 teams actually competed in the final tournament. FIFA did not offer participation to the runner-up of the group that Austria had played in, Latvia.

A total of 21 teams played at least one qualifying match. A total of 22 qualifying matches were played, and 96 goals were scored (an average of 4.36 per match).

Format

The 12 groups had different rules, as follows:

Key:

Groups

Group 1

Main article: 1938 FIFA World Cup qualification Group 1

Rank Team Pld W D L GF GA GAv Pts
1  Germany 3 3 0 0 11 1 11.0 6
2  Sweden 3 2 0 1 11 7 1.57 4
3  Estonia 3 1 0 2 4 11 0.36 2
4  Finland 3 0 0 3 0 7 0.00 0
16 June 1937 Sweden  4–0  Finland Stockholm, Sweden
Bunke 60', 82'
Persson 65'
Svanström 68'
Report Stadium: Solna Råsunda Stadion
Attendance: 19,544
Referee: Kolbjørn Daehlen (Norway)

20 June 1937 Sweden  7–2  Estonia Stockholm, Sweden
Josefsson 7', 41'
Bunke 40'
Jonasson 49' (pen.)
Wetterström 73', 77', 84'
Report Siimenson 2'
Uukkivi 3'
Stadium: Solna Råsunda Stadion
Attendance: 18,270
Referee: Otto Remke (Denmark)

29 June 1937 Finland  0–2  Germany Helsinki, Finland
Report Lehner 26'
Urban 38'
Stadium: Pallokenttä
Attendance: 6,619
Referee: Otto Remke (Denmark)

19 August 1937 Finland  0–1  Estonia Turku, Finland
Report Kuremaa 56' Stadium: Urheilupuisto
Attendance: 4,797
Referee: Ivan Eklind (Sweden)

29 August 1937 Germany  4–1  Estonia Königsberg, Germany
Lehner 50', 65'
Gauchel 53', 86'
Report Siimenson 34' Stadium: Horst-Wessel Stadion
Attendance: 18,000
Referee: Bruno Pfützner (Czechoslovakia)

21 November 1937 Germany  5–0  Sweden Hamburg, Germany
Siffling 2', 57'
Szepan 8'
Schön 48', 63'
Report Stadium: Altonaer Stadion
Attendance: 51,000
Referee: Bruno Pfützner (Czechoslovakia)

Germany and Sweden qualified.

Group 2

Main article: 1938 FIFA World Cup qualification Group 2

Rank Team Pld W D L GF GA GAv Pts
1  Norway 2 1 1 0 6 5 1.20 3
2  Irish Free State 2 0 1 1 5 6 0.83 1
10 October 1937 Norway  3–2  Irish Free State Oslo, Norway
Kvammen 30', 64'
Martinsen 78'
Report Geoghegan 37'
Dunne 49'
Stadium: Ullevaal Stadion
Attendance: 19,000
Referee: Peco Bauwens (Germany)

7 November 1937 Irish Free State  3–3  Norway Dublin, Irish Free State
Dunne 10'
O'Flanagan 62'
Duggan 88'
Report Kvammen 16', 33'
Martinsen 49'
Stadium: Dalymount Park
Attendance: 27,000
Referee: Thomas Gibbs (England)

Norway qualified.

Group 3

Main article: 1938 FIFA World Cup qualification Group 3

Rank Team Pld W D L GF GA GAv Pts
1  Poland 2 1 0 1 4 1 4.00 2
2  Yugoslavia 2 1 0 1 1 4 0.25 2
10 October 1937 Poland  4–0  Yugoslavia Warsaw, Poland
Piątek 3', 20'
Wostal 59'
Wilimowski 78'
Report Stadium: Stadion Wojska Polskiego
Attendance: 30,000
Referee: Lucien Leclercq (France)

3 April 1938 Yugoslavia  1–0  Poland Belgrade, Yugoslavia
Marjanović 61' Report Stadium: Stadion BSK
Attendance: 26,000
Referee: Rinadlo Barlassina (Italy)

Poland finished above Yugoslavia on goal average, and thus qualified.

Group 4

Rank Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
 Romania qualified
 Egypt withdrew

Egypt were to play Romania on 17 December 1937. However, Egypt withdrew from the competition after Egyptian officials objected to playing on this date since it was in the holy month of Ramadan. Therefore, Romania qualified after Egypt invited Austrian club side First Vienna to play the friendly match against the national team.[1]

Group 5

Main article: 1938 FIFA World Cup qualification Group 5

Rank Team Pld W D L GF GA GAv Pts
1   Switzerland 1 1 0 0 2 1 2.00 2
2  Portugal 1 0 0 1 1 2 0.50 0
1 May 1938 Switzerland   2–1  Portugal Milan, Italy
Aeby 24'
Amado 29'
Report Peyroteo 72' (pen.) Stadium: Stadio Civico Arena
Attendance: 16,000
Referee: Francesco Mattea (Italy)

Switzerland qualified.

Group 6

Main article: 1938 FIFA World Cup qualification Group 6

First round

Rank Team Pld W D L GF GA GAv Pts
1  Greece 2 2 0 0 4 1 4.00 4
2  Mandatory Palestine 2 0 0 2 1 4 0.25 0
22 January 1938 Mandatory Palestine  1–3  Greece Tel Aviv, Mandatory Palestine/Land of Israel
Neufeld 36' Report Vikelidis 15', 30'
Migiakis 73'
Stadium: Maccabi Ground
Attendance: 8,000
Referee: Mohammed Youssef (Egypt)

20 February 1938 Greece  1–0  Mandatory Palestine Athens, Greece
Vikelidis 88' (pen.) Report Stadium: Stadio Leoforos Alexandras
Attendance: 12,000
Referee: Mika Popovic (Yugoslavia)

Greece qualified for the final round.

Final round

Rank Team Pld W D L GF GA GAv Pts
1  Hungary 1 1 0 0 11 1 11.0 2
2  Greece 1 0 0 1 1 11 0.09 0
25 March 1938 Hungary  11–1  Greece Budapest, Hungary
Zsengellér 15', 23' (pen.), 25', 65', 81'
Titkos 18', 75'
Vincze 26'
Nemes 34', 40', 52'
Report Makris 89' Stadium: Hungária
Attendance: 12,000
Referee: Denis Xifando (Romania)

Hungary qualified.

Group 7

Main article: 1938 FIFA World Cup qualification Group 7

Rank Team Pld W D L GF GA GAv Pts
1  Czechoslovakia 2 1 1 0 7 1 7.00 3
2  Bulgaria 2 0 1 1 1 7 0.14 1
7 November 1937 Bulgaria  1–1  Czechoslovakia Sofia, Bulgaria
Panchediev 89' (pen.) Report Ríha 44' Stadium: Junak Stadion
Attendance: 15,000
Referee: Rinaldo Barlassina (Italy)

24 April 1938 Czechoslovakia  6–0  Bulgaria Prague, Czechoslovakia
Šimůnek 21', 79', 89'
Nejedlý 57', 77'
Ludl 73'
Report Stadium: AC Sparta Stadion
Attendance: 28,000
Referee: Pál von Hertzka (Hungary)

Czechoslovakia qualified.

Group 8

First round

Rank Team Pld W D L GF GA GAv Pts
1  Latvia 2 2 0 0 9 3 3.00 4
2  Lithuania 2 0 0 2 3 9 0.33 0
29 July 1937 Latvia  4–2  Lithuania Riga, Latvia
Kaņeps 19', 52', 83'
Vestermans 50'
Report Gudelis 79'
Paulionis 90'
Stadium: ASK stadions
Attendance: 10,000
Referee: Gustav Krist (Czechoslovakia)

3 September 1937 Lithuania  1–5  Latvia Kaunas, Lithuania
Paulionis 72' Report Kaņeps 4', 45' (pen.)
Borduško 11', 30'
Vestermans 67'
Stadium: Valstybinis stadionas
Attendance: 10,000
Referee: Hans Frankenstein (Austria)

Latvia qualified for the final round.

Final round

Rank Team Pld W D L GF GA GAv Pts
1  Austria 1 1 0 0 2 1 2.00 2
2  Latvia 1 0 0 1 1 2 0.50 0
5 October 1937 Austria  2–1  Latvia Vienna, Austria
Jerusalem 15'
Binder 33'
Report Vestermans 6' Stadium: Stadion Prater
Attendance: 16,000
Referee: Pál von Hercka (Hungary)

Austria qualified, but was later incorporated by Germany during the Anschluss. FIFA offered the place to England (winner of the 1937–38 British Home Championship), who had opted not to enter the competition, but they declined the offer; FIFA decided not to allow anyone else to qualify, leaving the World Cup one team short.

Group 9

Pos. Team Pld W D L GF GA GAv Pts
1  Netherlands 2 1 1 0 5 1 5.00 3
2  Belgium 2 1 1 0 4 3 1.33 3
3  Luxembourg 2 0 0 2 2 7 0.29 0
28 November 1937 Netherlands  4–0  Luxembourg Rotterdam, Netherlands
Smit 29'
de Boer 68', 78', 82'
Report Stadium: Stadion Feyenoord
Attendance: 40,000
Referee: Karl Weingarter (Austria)

13 March 1938 Luxembourg  2–3  Belgium Luxembourg, Luxembourg
Libar 4'
Kemp 33'
Report Voorhoof 19'
Braine 55'
de Vries 59'
Stadium: Stade Municipal
Attendance: 11,200
Referee: Georges Capdeville (France)

3 April 1938 Belgium  1–1  Netherlands Antwerp, Belgium
Isemborghs 53' Report van Spaandonck 37' Stadium: Bosuil Stadion
Attendance: 47,660
Referee: Arthur Jewell (England)

Netherlands and Belgium qualified.

Group 10

Rank Team Pld W D L GF GA GAv Pts
1  Brazil Bye
2  Argentina Withdrew

Argentina withdrew, so Brazil qualified automatically.

Group 11

First round

Rank Team Pld W D L GF GA GAv Pts
1  Cuba Bye
2  Costa Rica Withdrew
 Dutch Guiana
 El Salvador
 Colombia
 Mexico
 United States

Costa Rica, Dutch Guiana, El Salvador, Mexico, Colombia and the United States all withdrew, so Cuba qualified automatically for the second round.

Second round

All other teams than Cuba had withdrawn from competition, so thus qualified automatically for the finals.

Group 12

Rank Team Pld W D L GF GA GAv Pts
1  Dutch East Indies Bye
2  Japan Withdrew

Japan withdrew, so Dutch East Indies qualified automatically.

Qualified teams

FIFA World Cup qualification 1938
FIFA World Cup qualification 1938
Qualifying countries
Qualifying countries
Team Finals Appearance Streak Last Appearance
 Austria 2nd 2 1934
 Belgium 3rd 3 1934
 Brazil 3rd 3 1934
 Cuba 1st 1
 Czechoslovakia 2nd 2 1934
 Dutch East Indies 1st 1
 France (h) 3rd 3 1934
 Germany 2nd 2 1934
 Hungary 2nd 2 1934
 Italy (c) 2nd 2 1934
 Netherlands 2nd 2 1934
 Norway 1st 1
 Poland 1st 1
 Romania 3rd 3 1934
 Sweden 2nd 2 1934
  Switzerland 2nd 2 1934

Goalscorers

5 goals
4 goals
3 goals
2 goals
1 goal

Notes

References

  1. ^ Dietschy, Paul (6 June 2013). "Making football global? FIFA, Europe, and the non-European football world, 1912–74". Journal of Global History. 8 (02): 288. doi:10.1017/S1740022813000223.