History of the World Cup Soccer Championships 1934 Czechoslovakia v. Germany

About the history of the 1934 World Cup Championships for soccer or football ending with Czechoslovakia v. Germany.

THE WORLD CUP CHAMPIONSHIPS

1934

The 1934 games convened in Italy. In the grip of fascism, the nation wanted to win as a symbol of national strength. The Uruguayan victors of 1930 failed to participate, partly because they still resented the absence of the major European teams at the previous championship, and partly because they were in the throes of a players' strike. The favorites were the Italians, managed by the authoritarian, discipline-conscious Vittorio Pozzo, and the Austrian "Wunderteam" led by manager Hugo Meisl, the other giant of European football between the wars.

The format consisted of a series of qualifying games followed by a knock-out competition with 16 teams in the 1st round. The winners went on to a 2nd round, which found Italy victorious over Spain, Austria over Hungary, Germany over Sweden, and Czechoslovakia over Switzerland.

In the semifinals, the Italians battled the Austrians. A downpour transformed the field into a muddy plain that particularly confounded the precise playing style of the Austrians. Italy had a goal 18 minutes into the game, and Austria did not even have its 1st shot at the goal until the game was almost over. In the final minute, Austrian Zischek penetrated the Italian defense and headed toward the shot that could have tied up the game. But his shot was wide and Italy's place in the final was assured.

The other semifinal game featured Czechoslovakia contesting the Germans. The audience included a sportily-dressed Mussolini. The solid Aryans clung to their "W" formation, looking wooden compared to the smaller but sprightly Czechs. The latter scored on a long attack by right-winger Junek, his kick deflected but transformed into a goal by Nejedly. However, in the 2nd half, Czech goalkeeper Planicka inexplicably stood motionless as a long kick by Germany's Noack shot by him to tie up the game. Then the Czechs rallied and gained 2 more to assure their participation in the final.

In the final, the Czechs' speed and agility was pitted against the power and endurance of the Italians. Although the stands were not as full and the atmosphere not as riotous as in Montevideo 4 years earlier, both teams were in good form and keyed for victory.

The Czechoslovakian team made the 1st move with a long kick by Puc, which turned into a goal when the Italian goalkeeper was a split-second too slow. Not until 8 minutes from the scheduled end did Italy manage to tie it up with a curving kick that amazed even Orsi, the kicker. The game went into extra time. After 97 minutes of play, Schiavio of Italy made another goal, bouncing the Czechs and cinching the World Cup for the nation that had been so determined to win.

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