WORLD CUP : History—1934

The political situation in Europe had become more and more tense, with fascism, under the leadership of Adolf Hitler in Germany, taking a hold. Italy too was under the spell, with Benito Mussolini hoping to use the 1934 World Cup to further the glory of his own regime. Sixteen teams — 12 from Europe, three South Americans and one African nation, Egypt — lined up for the finals. Uruguay refused to defend their title in Italy, as a protest against the European nations’ apparent snubbing of the 1930 Tournament.

For the second successive time, the host country took the spoils. Under the approving gaze of Mussolini, the Italians saw off Czechoslovakia 2-1 in the final, though only after extra time. The Czechs silenced the partisan 50,000 crowd when Antonin Puc scored with just 20 minutes remaining. They almost added a second when the ball struck a post before Argentine-born Raimundo Orsi scored a late equaliser for Italy with a brilliant goal.

Italy clinched their first World Cup title when Angelo Schiavo scored the match-winner in the seventh minute of extra-time.