In his introduction to "The Struggle for Mastery In Europe, 1848-1918", A J P Taylor wrote "Though they (... the Aristocratic Ambassadors of the great European powers) carried on the mysteries of secret diplomacy, there were few real secrets in the diplomatic world, and all diplomatists were honest, according to their moral code."
To this he added a footnote - "It becomes wearisome to add 'except the Italians' to every generalization. Henceforth it may be assumed".
In the early 1930s world of football, Italy were certainly amongst the international giants of the period; unfortunately the morals of their rulers was all out fascist. It was made very plain to the host organizers that this was a fascist showpiece, and the Italian Azzuri would win at all costs. The propaganda value of Italian manhood beating the rest of the world was a juicy prospect for Mussolini and Co, and, although these slogans would have no meaning or substance outside from the national policies of the countries by which they were used, power over opinion cannot be dissociated from military and economic power.
The first Old World tournament was the first, and to date, the only, time the champions did not defend their title. Uruguay were not only disgruntled by the top European non-attendance of their birthday party, but had a major player strike on their hands. Austria had das Wunderteam, under the modernist anglophile Hugo Meisl, which had recently thrashed Scotland 5-0, Germany 6-0, and the Swiss 8-1 - spearheaded by the two master forwards, Biscan and Sindelar.
Hungary and Czechoslovakia were equally as powerful. The growing number of entrants forced FIFA to introduce a perfunctory zonal qualification. Sweden easily overcame Lithuania and Estonia after two single defeats. Spain beat Portugal; the Swiss and Romania (luckily) knocked out Yugoslavia; Holland and Belgium out pointed Eire; and Germany and France, not yet in tanks, trampled through Luxemembourg.
Ridiculously, Italy had to defeat Greece to play in their own finals, and did so, no doubt to great official relief. The 'rest' of the world was represented by Egypt, who had to get to Rome via Jerusalem! A match unthinkable today, they bested Palestine 11-2 (on aggregate), again without the aid of panzers.
Central and South America was a bit of a war zone.
Bolivia and Paraguay were in the thick of the Chaco conflict, but Cuba, Haiti, and Mexico, despite unrest domestically, brought forth a play-off in Rome between the USA and the Mexicans. An all expenses paid Roman holiday ended the Mexican hopes, and after a 4-2 loss to the USA on 24 May, it was a 4,000-mile trip back to the land of tequila.
Brazil (vs. Peru) and Argentina (vs. Chile) had walkovers. War, however, was not the only conflict. It was the death throes of amateurism which caused so much grief to the South American football associations. Leading clubs embraced professionalism and broke away from their respective associations, and therefore from FIFA. Argentina and Brazil, both hoping to host the 1938 finals, sent, respectively, amateur (less chance of poaching), and professional squads.
All this hiatus over pay benefited Italy. Filó (capped by Brazil), Orsi, Demaria, Guaita and Monti (all Argentine), were eligible behind a helpful FIFA blind eye. Vitorio Pozzo, as manager, coach, and generalissimo, used the best of his resources and powers. He had, like, the Austrian Miesl, studied the English game first hand at Old Trafford before the Great War. Utilizing the friendship of the Manchester United captain Charlie Roberts, picking the brains of goal machine Cliff Bastin, and confident under an omnipresent shield of a right-wing Italian Football Federation, Italy were not merely favourites.
In the heady days of 1934, football was not just a matter of life and death. It was more important than that.
After all, Mussolini had built up the infrastructure, spent a fortune on the stadiums, and got the trains running on time. And so when, on the opening day of the tournament, the Azzuri beat the USA 7-1 at the Stadio Nazionale del Partito Nazionale Fascista, his joy knew no bounds.
Game 1: Played 27 May 1934 (16.30), Stadio Nazionale del Partito Nazionale Fascista, Rome.
(~30,000) Rene Mercet (SUI), Pedro Escartin (ESP), Bohumil Zenisek (TCH).
Result: ITALY 7 – USA 1 (3:0)
1:0 Schiavio 18, 2:0 Orsi 20, 3:0 Schiavio 29, 3:1 Donelli 57, 4:1 Ferrari 63, 5:1 Schiavio 64 (100th World Cup goal), 6:1 Orsi 69, 7:1 Meazza 89.
USA: Julius Hjulian, – Edward Czerkiewicz, George Moorhouse (c), – Peter Pietras, Adelino 'Billy' Gonsalvez, Thomas Florie, – Francis Ryan, Werner Nilsen, Aldo Donelli, Walter Dick, Bill Maclean.
Game 2: Played 27 May 1934 (16.30), Stadio Littorio, Trieste.[19=]
(+8,000) Jan Langenus (BEL), Guiseppe Scarpi (ITA), Raffaele Scorzoni (ITA).
Result: CZECHOSLOVAKIA 2 - ROMANIA 1 (0:1)
0:1 Dobay 11, 1:1 Puc 50, 2:1 Nejedlý 67.
ROM: Wiliam Zombory, – Emerich Vogl (c), Gheorghe Albu, – Vasile Deheleanu, Rudolf Kotormanyi, Iosif Moravetz – Silviu Bindea, Niculae Kovacs, Gratian Sepi, Iuliu Bodola, Stefan Dobay.
Game 3: Played 27 May 1934 (16.30), Stadio Giovanni Berta, Florence.[19=]
(-8,000) Francesco Mattea (ITA), Georges Baert (FRA), Ermenegildo Melandri (ITA).
Result: GERMANY 5 – BELGIUM 2 (1:2)
1:0 Kobierski 25, 1:1 Voorhoof 29, 1:2 Voorhoof 43, 2:2 Sifling 49, 3:2 Conen 66, 4:2 Conen 70, 5:2 Conen 87.
BEL:Andre van de Weyer, – Philibert Smellinckx, Stan Joacim, – Frans Peeraer, Felix Welkenhuysen (c), Jean Claessens, – Francois Devries, Bernard Voorhoof, Jean Capelle, Laurent Grimmonprez, Albert Heremans.
Game 4: Played 27 May 1934 (16.30), Stadio Mussolini, Turin.[19=]
(-20,000) Joop van Moorsel (HOL), Camillo Caironi (ITA), Louis André Baert (BEL).
Result: AUSTRIA 3 – FRANCE 2 (1:1, 1:1, 2:1) aet (first ever).
0:1 Nicolas 18, 1:1 Sindelar 44, 2:1 Schall 93, 3:1 Bican 109, 3:2 Verriest 118 pen
FRA: Alexis Thépot, – Jacques Mairesse, Etienne Mattler, – Edmond Delfour, Georges Verriest (c), Noel Liétaer – Fritz Keller, Joseph Alcazar, Jean Nicolas, Roger Rio, Alfred 'Freddy' Aston.
Game 5: Played 27 May 1934 (16.30), Stadio Marassi, Genoa.[19=]
(-25,000) Alfred Birlem (GER), Ettori Carminati (ITA), Mihaly Ivanicsic (HUN).
Result: SPAIN 3 – BRAZIL 1 (3:0)
1:0 Iraragori 18 pen, 2:0 Lángara 25, 3:0 Lángara 29, 3:1 Leónidas 55 (62 Zamora saved a penalty by Waldemar).
BRZ: Roberto Gomes PEDROSA, SILVIO Hoffman Mazzi, Luis dos Santos LUZ, Alfredo Alves TINOCO, MARTIM Mercio de SILVEIRA (c), Heitor CANALLI, – Luiz Mesquita De Oliveira ("LUIZINHO"), 'WALDEMAR' de Brito, "LEÓNIDAS" da Silva, Armando dos Santos ("ARMADINHO"), Rodolfo Barteczko ("PATESKO").
Game 6: Played 27 May 1934 (16.30), Stadio San Siro, Milan.[19=]
(-40,000) Ivan Eklind (SWE), Alois Beranek (AUT), Ferruccio Bonivento (ITA).
Result: SWITZERLAND 3 – HOLLAND 2 (2:1)
1:0 Kielholz 7, 1:1 Smit 19, 2:1 Kielholz 29, 3:1 Abegglen 69, 3:2 Vente 84.
HOL: Gejus Van der Muelen, – Mauk Weber, Sjef Van Run, – Henk Pellikaan, Wim Anderiesen, Gerrit 'Puck' Van Heel (c), – Frank Wels, Leen Vente, Eberhard 'Bep' Bakhuys, Jaap 'Kick' Smit, Noud Van Nellen.
Game 7: Played 27 May 1934 (16.30), Stadio Littoriale, Bologna.[19=]
(-15,000) Eugen Braun (AUT), Albino Carraro (ITA), Guiseppe Turbiani (ITA).
Result: SWEDEN 3 – ARGENTINA 2 (1:1)
0:1 Belis 4 , 1:1 Jonasson 9, 1:2 Galateo 46, 2:2 Jonasson 67, 3:2 Kroon 79.
ARG: Hector Luis Freschi, – Juan Carlos Pedevilla, Ernesto Antonio Belis, – Jose Nehin, Constantino Urbieta Sosa, Arcadio Julio López (c), – Francisco Rúa, Frederico Wilde, Alfredo Ciriaco Devincenzi, Alberto Galateo, Luis Irañeta.
Note: This was to be Argentinas last World Cup match until 1957.
Game 8: Played 27 May 1934 (16.30), Stadio Ascarelli, Naples.[19=]
(-12,000) Rinaldo Barlassina (ITA), Generoso Damio (ITA), Otello Saasi (ITA).
Result: HUNGARY 4 – EGYPT 2 (2:2)
1:0 Teleki 11, 2:0 Toldi 31, 2:1 Fawzi 39, 2:2 Fawzi 43, 3:2 Vincze 53, 4:2 Toldi 61
EGY: Mustafa Kamel Mansour, – Ali Mohammed el Said El Kaf, Hamidu Abdel Ibrahim Sharli, – Hassan Ahmed El Far, Ismail Rafaat, Raghab Hassan, – Mohammed Latif, Abdel Rahim Fawzi, Mohmoud Mokhtar Rafai El Tetch (c), Mustafa Kemel Taha, Mohammed Hassan Helmy.
Second Round (Quarter-Finals)
Game 1: Played 31 May 1934 (16.30) Stadio San Siro, Milan.[27=]
(-15,000) Rinaldo Barlassina (ITA), Joop van Moorsel (HOL), René Marcet (SUI).
Result: GERMANY 2 - SWEDEN 1 (0:0)
1:0 Hohmann 60, 2:0 Hohmann 63, 2:1 Dunker 82
SWE: Anders Rydberg, – Nils Axelsson, Sven Andersson, – Rune Carlsson-Wamma, Nils Rosen (c), Ernst Andersson, – Gösta Dunker, Ragnar Gustafsson, Sven Jonasson, Tore Keller, Kurt Kroon.
Game 2: Played 31 May 1934 Stadio Littoriale, Bologna.[27=]
(~25,000) Francesco Mattea (FRA), Alfred Birlem (GER), Pedro Escartin (ESP)
Result: AUSTRIA 2 - HUNGARY 1 (1:0)
1:0 Horvath 8, 2:0 Zischek 51, 2:1 Sárosi 60 pen.
HUN: Antal Szabó, – Jozsef Vagó, Laszlo Sternberg (c), – Istvan Pálotas, Gyorgy Szücs, Anton Szalay, – Imre Markos, Istvan Avar, Gyorgy Sarosi, Geza Toldi, Tibor Kemeny.
Sent off: Imre Markos (63). Avar was carried off after 80 minutes in this brawling match..
Game 3: Played 31 May 1934 Stadio Giovanni Berta, Florence.[27=]
(~35,000) Louis André Baert (BEL), Mihaly Ivanciscs (HUN), Bohumil Zenisek (TCH).
Result: ITALY 1 - SPAIN 1 (1:1)
0:1 Regueiro 30, 1:1 Ferrari 44.
ESP: Ricardo Zamora (c), – Errasti Ciriaco, Jacinto Quincoces, – Leonardo Cilauren, Martin Muguerza, Ramon de Lafuente, – Jose Iraragorri, Isidro Lángara, Frederico Saiz - 'Fede', Luis Regueiro, Guillermo Gorostiza.
Note: The Italian tactic of high crosses followed up by barging into the great Zamora (offered no protection from a feeble referee), put him out of the replay.
Quarter-Final Replay: Played: 1 June 1934 Stadio Giovanni Berta, Florence.
(~45,000) Rene Mercet (SUI), Mihaly Ivanciscs (HUN), Bohumil Zenisek (TCH).
Result: ITALY 1 - SPAIN 0 (1:0)
1:0 Meazza 11.
ESP: Juan Jose Nogués, – Ramon Zabalo, Jacinto Quincoces (c), – Leonardo Cilauren, Martin Muguerza, Simon Lecue, – Martin Ventolrá, Luis Regueiro, Marcelino Gonzalez - 'Campanal', Eduardo Gonzalez - 'Chacho', Crisanto Bosch.
Game 4: Played 31 May 1934 (16.30) Stadio Mussolini, Turin.[27=]
(~12,000) Alois Beranek (AUT), Yousuf Mohammed (EGY), Georges Baert (FRA).
Result: CZECHOSLOVAKIA 3 – SWITZERLAND 2 (1:1)
0:1 Kielholz 18, 1:1 Svoboda 24, 2:1 Sobotka 49, 2:2 Jäggi 78, 3:2 Nejedlý 82.
SUI: Franky Séchehaye, – Severino Minelli (c), Walter Weiler, – Albert Guinchard, Ferdnand Jaccard, Paul Hufschmid, – Willy von Känel, Willy Jäggi, Poldi Kielholz, Trello Abegglen III, Alfred Jaeck.
Game 1: Played 3 June 1934 (16.30) Stadio San Siro, Milan.[32=]
(~60,000) Ivan Eklind (SWE), Louis André Baert (BEL), Bohumil Zenisek (TCH).
Result: ITALY 1 - AUSTRIA 0 (0:0)
1:0 Guaita 19.
AUT: Peter Platzer, – Franz Cisar, Karl Sesta – Franz Wagner, Pepi Smistik (c), Hans Urbanek – Karl Zischek, Pepi Bican, Mathias Sindelar, Toni Schall, Rudolf Viertl.
Game 2: Played 3 June 1934 (16.30) Stadio Nazionale del Partito Nazionale Fascista, Rome.[32=]
(~10,000) Rinaldo Barlassina (ITA), Alois Beranek (AUT), Pedro Escartin (ESP).
Result: CZECHOSLOVAKIA 3 - GERMANY 1 (1:0)
1:0 Nejedlý 21 1:1 Noack 59, 2:1 Nejedlý 69, 3:1 Nejedlý 81.
GER: Willibald Kress, – Willi Busch, Siggi Haringer, – Paul Zielinski, Fritz Sczepan (c), Jacob Bender, – Ernst Lehner, Otto Siffling, Edmond Conen, Rudi Noak, Staislaus Kobierski.
Game Played 7 June 1934 (17.30) Stadio Ascarelli, Naples.
(-8,000) Albino Carraro (ITA), Camillo Caironi (ITA), Pedro Escartin (ESP).
Result: GERMANY 3 - AUSTRIA 2 (3:1)
1:0 Lehner 1 (24 secs), 2:0 Conen 29, 2:1 Horvath 30, 3:1 Lehner 42, 3:2 Sesta 55.
AUT: Peter Platzer, – Franz Cisar, Karl Sesta, – Franz Wagner, Pepi Smistik (c), Hans Urbanek, – Karl Zischek, Pepi Bican, Georg Braun, Hans Horvath, Rudolf Viertl.
Game Played 10 June 1934 (17.00) Stadio Nazionale del Partito Nazionale Fascista, Rome.
(~45,000) Ivan Eklind (SWE), Louis André Baert (BEL), Mihaly Ivanicsic (HUN).
Result: ITALY 2 – CZECHOSLOVAKIA 1 aet (0:0, 1:1, 2:1)
0:1 Puc 71, 1:1 Orsi 81, 2:1 Schiavio 95.
TCH: Frantisek Plánicka (c), – Ladislav Zenisek, Josef Ctyroký, – Josef Kostálek, Stefan Cambal, Rudolf Krcil, – Frantisek Junek, Frantisek Svoboda, Jiri Sobotka, Oldrich Nejedlý, Antonin Puc.
|5||Nejedly (TCH) (b. Zarbrak, 25 Dec 1909 - d. ? June 1990|
|4||Conen (GER), Schiavio (ITA)|
|3||Orsi (ITA), Kielholz (SUI)|
|2||Horvath (AUT), Voorhoof (BEL), Puc (TCH), Fawzi (EGY), Lángara (ESP), Hohmann, Lehner (GER), Toldi (HUN), Ferrari, Meazza (ITA), Jonasson (SWE)|
In total 70 goals (3 pens), 4.12 per match. Most goals ITALY (12), no team without goals. 46 players scored.
ARG: Felipe Pascucci | Ernesto Albaracin, Ramon Astudillo, Enrique Chimento, Angel Grippa (GK), Luca Izetta, Alfonso Lorenso, Vincente Francisco Perez.
AUT: Hugo Meisl, | Leopold Hofmann, Anton Janda, Mathias Kaburek, Rudolf Raft (GK), Willi Schmaus, Josef Stroh, Otto Walzhofer.
BEL: Hector Goetinck | Arnold Badjou (GK), Desire Bourgeois, Jean Brichaut, Robert Lamoot, Auguste Hellemans, Charles Simons, Rene Ledent, Georges Putmans, Joseph van Engelghem, Louis Verslip, Jules Pappert.
BRZ: Luiz Augusto Vinhais | ARIEL Nogueira, ATILA de Carvalho, OTACILIO Pinheiro Guerra, GERMANO Sobrinho, Carlos Alberto Dobert de CARVALHO LEITE, Walter Vicente Guimarñes ("WALDIR")(GK).
EGY: James McRea | Bakhati Mohamed Farid, Abdel Fahmy Aziz (GK), Ahmed Ibrahim Ahmed Halim, Abdel Hamid Ibrahim, El Negro Mahmoud Ismail, Hafez Kasseb, Hami Labid Mahmoud, Kamel Masoud, Yacout al Soury.
ESP: Amedeo Garcia de Salazar | Marin Luis, 'Hilario' Juan Marrero, Pedro Sole-Junoy.
FRA: George Kimpton (ENG) | Georges Beaucourt, Bruno Courtois, Robert Defossé (GK), Celestin Delmer, Louis Gabrillarguez, Joseph Gonzalés, Pierre Korb, Lucien Laurent, Rene Liense (GK), Jules Vandooren, Emile Veinante.
GER: Otto Nerz, | Ernst Albrecht, Fritz Buchloh (GK), Franz Dienert, Sepp Streib.
HOL: Robert Glendenning | Jan Graafland, Leo Halle (GK), Kees Mijnders, Jaap Mol, Toon Oprinsen, Adri Van Male (GK), Bas Paauwe, H.L.W.Vrauwdeunt, Jan van Diepenbeek. Arie Shoemaker.
HUN: Odon Nadás | Jarnos Dudas. Jozsef Háda (GK), Janos More, Rozsonyi, Istvan Tamasi, Joszef Turay.
ITA: Vittorio Pozzo, | Pietro Arcari, Umberto Caligaris, Guiseppe Cavanna (GK), Guido Masetti, (GK), Mario Varglien.
ROM: Costel Radulescu with Jozsef Uridil (AUT) | Iuliu Bartaky, Zoltan Beke, Rudolf Burger, Gheorghe Ciolac, Alexandru Cuedan, Gusztav Iuhasz, Stefan Klimek, Adalbert Püllöck (GK), Lazar Sfera, Alexandru Schwartz, Carol Weichelt (GK).
SUI: Heinrich 'Henri' Müller | Renato Bizzorero(GK), Albert Buche, Otto Buhler, Ernst Frick, Arnaldo Ortelli, Max Weiler, Willy Jaeggi, Willy Huber (GK), Louis Gobet, Alfred Jaek.
SWE: Jozsef Nagy | Otto Andersson, Victor Carlund, Carl Erik Holmberg, Gunnar Jannsson, George Johansson, Harry Lundahl, Helge Liljebjorn, Gunnar Olsson, Einar Snitt, Arvid Thörn, Eivar Widlund (GK).
TCH: Karel Petrù | Jaroslav Boucek, Gejza Kalocsay, Vlastimil Kopecký, Cestmir Patzel (GK), Adolf Simperski, Frantisek Sterc, Antonin Vodicka.
USA: Elmer Schroeder, David Gould (Coach) | Thomas Amrheim, Bill Fiedler, Gerald Gallagher, Al Harker, Bill Lehmann, Tom Lynch, Joseph Martinelli, Herman Rapp.
|Player||Iranéta (ARG)||18y 65d||Florie (USA)||around 37|
|Goalkeeper||Mansour (EGY)||20y 298d||Zamora (ESP)||33y 130d|
|Scorer||Conen (GER)||19y 198d||Orsi (ITA)||32y 190d|
|Champion||Borel (ITA)||20y 65d||Monti (ITA)||33y 26d|
|Finalist||Borel (ITA)||20y 65d||Monti (ITA)||33y 26d|
|Captain||Martim (BRZ)||23y 36d||Zamora (ESP)||33y 130d|
|Coach||Nádas (HUN)||around 33||Meisl (AUT)||52y 203d|
|Referee||Eklind (SWE)||28y 224d||Birlem (GER)||46y 137d|