The 1938 FIFA World Cup was the third edition of the World Cup, the quadrennial international football championship for senior men's national teams. It was held in France from 4 to 19 June 1938. Italy defended its title in the final, beating Hungary 4–2. Italy's 1934 and 1938 teams hold the distinction of being the only men's national team to win the World Cup multiple times under the same coach, Vittorio Pozzo. It would be the last World Cup until 1950; the 1942 and 1946 World Cups were cancelled due to World War II.

1938 FIFA World Cup
Coupe du Monde
France 1938
Official poster
Tournament details
Host countryFrance
Dates4–19 June
Teams15 (from 4 confederations)
Venue(s)10 (in 9 host cities)
Final positions
Champions Italy (2nd title)
Runners-up Hungary
Third place Brazil
Fourth place Sweden
Tournament statistics
Matches played18
Goals scored84 (4.67 per match)
Attendance374,835 (20,824 per match)
Top scorer(s)Brazil Leônidas (7 goals)

Host selection edit

France was chosen as host nation by FIFA in Berlin on 13 August 1936. France was chosen over Argentina and Germany in the first round of voting. The decision to hold a second consecutive tournament in Europe (after Italy in 1934) caused outrage in South America, where it was believed that the venue should alternate between the two continents. This was the last World Cup to be staged before the outbreak of the Second World War.

Qualification edit

Because of anger over the decision to hold a second successive World Cup in Europe, Uruguay, Argentina, United States and Mexico refused to enter the competition. Spain meanwhile could not participate due to the ongoing Spanish Civil War.

It was the first time that the hosts, France, and the title holders, Italy, qualified automatically. Title holders were given an automatic entry into the World Cup from 1938 until 2002 (inclusive), since abolished.

Of the 14 remaining places, eleven were allocated to Europe, two to the Americas, and one to Asia. As a result, only three non-European nations took part: Brazil, Cuba and Dutch East Indies (Indonesia), the latter being the first Asian country to participate in a FIFA World Cup.[1] This is the smallest ever number of teams from outside the host continent to compete at a FIFA World Cup.

Austria qualified for the World Cup, but after qualification was complete, the Anschluss united Austria with Germany. Austria subsequently withdrew from the tournament, with some Austrian players joining the German squad, although not including Austrian star player Matthias Sindelar, who refused to play for the unified team.[2] Latvia was the runner-up in Austria's qualification group, but was not invited to participate; instead Austria's place remained empty, and Sweden, which would have been Austria's initial opponent, progressed directly to the second-round by default.

This tournament saw the first, and as of 2022 the only, participation in a World Cup tournament from Cuba and the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia). It also saw the World Cup debuts of Poland and Norway. Romania would not qualify for another World Cup until 1970, Poland and the Netherlands would not reappear at a finals tournament until 1974, and Norway would not qualify for another World Cup finals until 1994. A unified Germany team would not appear again until 1994, although Austria returned in 1954 and finished in third place.

List of qualified teams edit

The following 16 teams originally qualified for the final tournament. However, 15 teams participated after Austria's withdrawal due to the Anschluss.

Format edit

The knockout format from 1934 was retained. If a match was tied after 90 minutes, then 30 minutes of extra time were played. If the score was still tied after extra time, the match would be replayed. This was the last World Cup tournament that used a straight knockout format.

Summary edit

Qualifying countries and their results

Germany, France, Italy, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Cuba and Brazil were seeded for the draw taking place in Paris, on 5 March 1938. Sweden was given a bye due to Austria's withdrawal.[3]

Five of the seven first round matches required extra time to break the deadlock; two games still went to a replay. In one replay, Cuba advanced to the next round at the expense of Romania. In the other replay, Germany, which had led 1–0 in the first game against Switzerland, led 2–0 but eventually was beaten 2–4. This loss, which took place in front of a hostile, bottle-throwing crowd in Paris, was blamed by German coach Sepp Herberger on a defeatist attitude from the five Austrian players he had been forced to include; a German journalist later commented that "Germans and Austrians prefer to play against each other even when they're in the same team".[4] Until they were knocked out in the first round in 2018, this was the only time Germany had failed to advance past the first round, and until their penalty shootout victory over France in the round of 16 of UEFA Euro 2020, this would be the last time Switzerland advanced past the first knockout game of a tournament.[5]

Sweden advanced directly to the quarter-finals as a result of Austria's withdrawal, and they proceeded to beat Cuba 8–0. The hosts, France, were beaten by the holders, Italy, and Switzerland were seen off by Hungary. Czechoslovakia took Brazil to extra time in a notoriously feisty match in Bordeaux before succumbing in a replay; the South Americans proved too strong for the depleted Czechoslovak side (both Oldřich Nejedlý and František Plánička had suffered broken bones in the first game) and won 2–1. This was the last match to be replayed in a World Cup.

Hungary destroyed Sweden in one of the semi-finals 5–1, while Italy and Brazil had the first of their many important World Cup clashes in the other. The Brazilians were without their star player Leônidas, who was injured, and the Italians won 2–1.[6] Brazil topped Sweden 4–2 for third place.

Rumour has it, before the finals Benito Mussolini was to have sent a telegram to the team, saying "Vincere o morire!" (literally translated as "Win or die!"). This should not have been meant as a literal threat, but instead just an encouragement to win. However, no record remains of such a telegram, and World Cup player Pietro Rava said, when interviewed in 2001, "No, no, no, that's not true. He sent a telegram wishing us well, but no never 'win or die'."[7]

The final itself took place at the Stade Olympique de Colombes in Paris. Vittorio Pozzo's Italian side took the lead early, but Hungary equalised within two minutes. The Italians took the lead again shortly after, and by the end of the first half were leading the Hungarians 3–1. Hungary never really got back into the game. With the final score favouring the Italians 4–2, Italy became the first team to successfully defend the title and were once more crowned World Cup winners.

Because of World War II, the World Cup would not be held for next 12 years, until 1950. As a result, Italy were the reigning World Cup holders for a record 16 years, from 1934 to 1950. The Italian Vice-president of FIFA, Dr. Ottorino Barassi, hid the trophy in a shoe-box under his bed throughout the Second World War and thus saved it from falling into the hands of occupying troops.[8]

Venues edit

Eleven venues in ten cities were planned to host the tournament; of these, all hosted matches except the Stade de Gerland in Lyon, which did not due to Austria's withdrawal.

(Paris area)
Marseille Paris Bordeaux
Stade Olympique de Colombes Stade Vélodrome Parc des Princes Parc Lescure
Capacity: 60,000 Capacity: 48,000 Capacity: 40,000 Capacity: 34,694
Strasbourg Le Havre
Stade de la Meinau Stade Municipal
Capacity: 30,000 Capacity: 22,000
Reims Toulouse Lille Antibes
Vélodrome Municipal Stade du T.O.E.C. Stade Victor Boucquey Stade du Fort Carré
Capacity: 21,684 Capacity: 15,000 Capacity: 15,000 Capacity: 7,000

Squads edit

For a list of all squads that appeared in the final tournament, see 1938 FIFA World Cup squads.

Final tournament edit

Bracket edit

Round of 16Quarter-finalsSemi-finalsFinal
5 June – Marseille
  Italy (a.e.t.)2
12 June – Colombes
5 June – Colombes
16 June – Marseille
5 June – Strasbourg
  Brazil (a.e.t.)6
12 and 14 June – Bordeaux
  Brazil (rep.)1 (2)
5 June – Le Havre
  Czechoslovakia1 (1)
  Czechoslovakia (a.e.t.)3
19 June – Colombes
5 June – Reims
12 June – Lille
  Dutch East Indies0
4 and 9 June – Paris
   Switzerland (rep.)1 (4)
16 June – Paris
  Germany1 (2)
5 June – Lyon
  Sweden1 Third place play-off
12 June – Antibes19 June – Bordeaux
  Sweden8  Brazil4
5 and 9 June – Toulouse
  Cuba0   Sweden2
  Cuba (rep.)3 (2)
  Romania3 (1)

Round of 16 edit

Switzerland  1–1 (a.e.t.)  Germany
Abegglen   43' Report Gauchel   29'
Attendance: 27,152

Hungary  6–0  Dutch East Indies
Kohut   13'
Toldi   15'
Sárosi   28', 89'
Zsengellér   35', 76'
Attendance: 9,000
Referee: Roger Conrié (France)

Sweden  3–0

Cuba  3–3 (a.e.t.)  Romania
Socorro   44', 103'
Magriñá   69'
Report Bindea   35'
Barátky   88'
Dobay   105'
Attendance: 7,000
Referee: Giuseppe Scarpi (Italy)

France  3–1  Belgium
Veinante   1'
Nicolas   16', 69'
Report Isemborghs   38'

Italy  2–1 (a.e.t.)  Norway
Ferraris   2'
Piola   94'
Report Brustad   83'
Attendance: 19,000

Brazil  6–5 (a.e.t.)  Poland
Leônidas   18', 93', 104'
Romeu   25'
Perácio   44', 71'
Report Scherfke   23' (pen.)
Wilimowski   53', 59', 89', 118'
Attendance: 13,452
Referee: Ivan Eklind (Sweden)

Czechoslovakia  3–0 (a.e.t.)  Netherlands
Košťálek   93'
Zeman   111'
Nejedlý   118'
Attendance: 11,000
Referee: Lucien Leclerq (France)

Replays edit

Switzerland  4–2  Germany
Walaschek   42'
Bickel   64'
Abegglen   75', 78'
Report Hahnemann   8'
Lörtscher   22' (o.g.)
Attendance: 20,025
Referee: Ivan Eklind (Sweden)

Cuba  2–1  Romania
Socorro   51'
Fernández   57'
Report Dobay   35'
Attendance: 8,000
Referee: Alfred Birlem (Germany)

Quarter-finals edit

Hungary  2–0   Switzerland
Sárosi   40'
Zsengellér   89'[c]

Sweden  8–0  Cuba
H. Andersson   9', 81', 89'[d]
Wetterström   22', 37', 44'
Keller   80'[e]
Nyberg   84'[f]

Italy  3–1  France
Colaussi   9'
Piola   51', 72'
Report Heisserer   10'

Brazil  1–1 (a.e.t.)  Czechoslovakia
Leônidas   30' Report Nejedlý   65' (pen.)
Attendance: 22,021
Referee: Pál von Hertzka (Hungary)

Replay edit

Brazil  2–1  Czechoslovakia
Leônidas   57'
Roberto   62'[g]
Report Kopecký   25'
Attendance: 18,141

Semi-finals edit

Hungary  5–1  Sweden
Jacobsson   19' (o.g.)
Titkos   37'
Zsengellér   39', 85'
Sárosi   65'
Report Nyberg   1'
Attendance: 20,000
Referee: Lucien Leclerq (France)

Italy  2–1  Brazil
Colaussi   51'
Meazza   60' (pen.)
Report Romeu   87'

Third place play-off edit

Brazil  4–2  Sweden
Romeu   44'
Leônidas   63', 74'
Perácio   80'
Report Jonasson   28'
Nyberg   38'
Attendance: 12,000

Final edit

Italy  4–2  Hungary
Colaussi   6', 35'
Piola   16', 82'
Report Titkos   8'
Sárosi   70'

Goalscorers edit

With seven goals, Leônidas was the top scorer in the tournament. In total, 84 goals were scored by 42 players, with two of them credited as own goals.

7 goals
5 goals
4 goals
3 goals
2 goals
1 goal
1 own goal

FIFA retrospective ranking edit

A ball from the tournament

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.[11][12] The rankings for the 1938 tournament were as follows:

R Team P W D L GF GA GD Pts.
1   Italy 4 4 0 0 11 5 +6 8
2   Hungary 4 3 0 1 15 5 +10 6
3   Brazil 5 3 1 1 14 11 +3 7
4   Sweden 3 1 0 2 11 9 +2 2
Eliminated in the quarter-finals
5   Czechoslovakia 3 1 1 1 5 3 +2 3
6    Switzerland 3 1 1 1 5 5 0 3
7   Cuba 3 1 1 1 5 12 −7 3
8   France 2 1 0 1 4 4 0 2
Eliminated in the round of 16
9   Romania 2 0 1 1 4 5 -1 1
10   Germany 2 0 1 1 3 5 –2 1
11   Poland 1 0 0 1 5 6 −1 0
12   Norway 1 0 0 1 1 2 −1 0
13   Belgium 1 0 0 1 1 3 −2 0
14   Netherlands 1 0 0 1 0 3 −3 0
15   Dutch East Indies 1 0 0 1 0 6 −6 0
16   Austria Withdrew

Footnotes edit

  1. ^ The match between Sweden and Austria was not played due to the Anschluss. Sweden automatically qualified for the quarter-finals.
  2. ^ Actually from Austria, but representing the German Football Association because of the Anschluss.
  3. ^ RSSSF credits this goal as coming in the 90th minute.[9]
  4. ^ RSSSF credits goal in the 81st minute as coming in the 61st minute.[9]
  5. ^ RSSSF credits goal in the 80th minute as coming in the 60th minute.[9]
  6. ^ RSSSF credits this goal as coming in the 89th minute.[9]
  7. ^ FIFA initially credited this goal to Leônidas, but changed it to Roberto in 2006.[10]

References edit

  1. ^ "Did you know Dutch East Indies, erstwhile Indonesia, were the first flagbearers of Asia in FIFA World Cup?". 2 March 2023. Retrieved 2 January 2024.
  2. ^ Ashdown, John (22 April 2014). "World Cup: 25 stunning moments … No11: Austria's Wunderteam". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 June 2014.
  3. ^ "History of the World Cup Final Draw" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 26 February 2008. Retrieved 26 March 2012.
  4. ^ Hesse-Lichtenberger, Ulrich (2003). Tor!: The Story of German Football. London: WSC Books. p. 85. ISBN 095401345X.
  5. ^ Steinberg, Jacob (27 June 2018). "Germany crashed out of the World Cup group stages and finished bottom of Group F after defeat to South Korea". Retrieved 8 July 2021.
  6. ^ Gehringer, Max (November 2005). "Faltaram os papéis". A Saga da Jules Rimet (in Portuguese). No. 3. São Paulo: Editora Abril. p. 37.
  7. ^ Martin, Simon (5 April 2018). "World Cup stunning moments: Mussolini's blackshirts' 1938 win". Retrieved 8 July 2021.
  8. ^ "History". Archived from the original on 20 March 2007. Retrieved 14 June 2014.
  9. ^ a b c d "World Cup 1938 finals". RSSSF. Retrieved 7 July 2021.
  10. ^ "American Bert Patenaude credited with first hat trick in FIFA World Cup history". 2006. Archived from the original on 16 November 2006.
  11. ^ "Mexico 1986" (PDF). FIFA. Archived (PDF) from the original on 14 June 2010. Retrieved 8 July 2021.
  12. ^ "FIFA World Cup: Milestones, facts & figures. Statistical Kit 7" (PDF). FIFA. 26 March 2013. Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 May 2013.

External links edit