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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.

1938 FIFA World Cup Qualification
Tournament details
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

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:

  • Groups 1 to 9 - Europe: 11 places, contested by 23 teams (including Egypt and Palestine).
  • Groups 10 and 11 - The Americas: 2 places, contested by 9 teams.
  • Group 12 - Asia: 1 place, contested by 2 teams.

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).

Contents

FormatEdit

The 12 groups had different rules, as follows:

  • Group 1 had 4 teams. The teams played against each other once. The group winner and runner-up would qualify.
  • Groups 2, 3, 4, 5 and 7 had 2 teams each. The teams, except in Group 5, played against each other on a home-and-away basis. The group winners would qualify. In Group 5, Switzerland and Portugal were to play only one match on a neutral ground with the winner to qualify.
  • Groups 6 and 8 had 3 teams each. The strongest team of each group was seeded. There would be two rounds of play:
    • First Round: The seeded team received a bye and advanced to the Final Round directly. The remaining 2 teams played against each other on a home-and-away basis. The winner would advance to the Final Round.
    • Final Round: The seeded team played against the winner of the First Round at home. The winner would qualify.
  • Group 9 had 3 teams. The teams played against each other once. The group winner and runner-up would qualify.
  • Group 10 had 2 teams. The group winner would qualify.
  • Group 11 had 7 teams. The group winner would qualify.
  • Group 12 had 2 teams. The group winner would qualify.

Key:

  • Teams highlighted in green qualified for the finals.
  • Teams highlighted in Orange qualified for the final phase of their group.

Group 1Edit

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





Germany and Sweden qualified.

Group 2Edit

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

Norway qualified.

Group 3Edit

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

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

Group 4Edit

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

Egypt were to play Romania on 17 December 1937, but Egypt refused to play Romania during the Ramadan month, with Egyptian officials arguing that it was "impossible" to play football during that time period.
After Egyptian officials invited Austrian club side First Vienna FC to Egypt to participate in a friendly game against the national team during the holy month, Egypt were withdrawn by FIFA, and Romania qualified automatically.[1]

Group 5Edit

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

Switzerland qualified.

Group 6Edit

First roundEdit

Rank Team Pld W D L GF GA GAv Pts
1   Greece 2 2 0 0 4 1 4.00 4
2   Palestine, British Mandate 2 0 0 2 1 4 0.25 0

Greece qualified for the final round.

Final roundEdit

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

Hungary qualified.

Group 7Edit

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

Czechoslovakia qualified.

Group 8Edit

First roundEdit

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

Latvia qualified for the final round.

Final roundEdit

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

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 9Edit

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


Netherlands and Belgium qualified.

Group 10Edit

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

Argentina withdrew, so Brazil qualified automatically.

Group 11Edit

First roundEdit

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.

Group 12Edit

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 teamsEdit

 
FIFA World Cup qualification 1938
 
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
  •   Austria withdrew after qualifying due to the Anschluss.
  • (h) - qualified automatically as hosts
  • (c) - qualified automatically as defending champions

11 of the 15 teams subsequently failed to qualify for the 1950 finals: Belgium, Cuba, Czechoslovakia, Dutch East Indies, France, Germany, Hungary, Netherlands, Norway, Poland and Romania.

GoalscorersEdit

NotesEdit

ReferencesEdit

  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.

External linksEdit