History of the World Cup Soccer Championships 1938 Italy v. Hungary

About the history of the 1938 World Cup Championships for soccer or football ending with Italy v. Hungary.

THE WORLD CUP CHAMPIONSHIPS

1938

France hosted the games in 1938, and the troubles of the world were reflected in the microcosm of the World Cup: Spain could send no team because it was in the middle of its civil war; the best players on the Austrian team had been annexed by the Germans; squabbling and hurt pride kept Uruguay and Argentina from participating; and England still failed to join the competition. This left the Hungarians and Czechs as the teams most likely to dethrone the Italian defenders.

The competition reverted to 2 rounds leading to the semifinals. The 2nd round found the Italians defeating their French hosts 3-1, with center-forward Piola the master of the field. The Cubans were destroyed by the Swedes, 8-1 with 4 by Gustav Wetterstroem, the "bombadier of Norkopping." Hungary shut out Switzerland, 2-0. The Brazil-Czechoslovakia match looked like a battlefield. There were several serious injuries, 3 expulsions, and a 1-1 score even after extra time. for the replay the Brazilians substituted 9 new players, the Czechs 6, and the much more placid game ended in a 2-1 win for Brazil.

Brazil met Italy in the semifinals. Undone by the sin of pride, the Brazilians reserved 2 of their best players for the final they were never to reach. Colaussi made the 1st point for Italy, Meazza the 2nd, ripping and losing his shorts in the process. Brazil's Romeo scored its lone goal late in the game. Italy was victorious 2-1. The other semifinal match saw Hungary melt down Sweden's "team of steel." Sweden's Nyberg scored its only point a mere 35 seconds into the game, but it was downhill from there to the final score of 5-1.

The final got off to a quick start. After 6 minutes, Serantoni of Italy got the ball to Biavati who transported it almost the length of the field. It went from Meazza to Colaussi to goal. Within seconds, Titkos of Hungary evened the score. Another quarter of an hour into the game, Piola gave Italy the advantage and they retained control of the game thereafter. Hungary found one more point, but Italy smashed in 2 others for a final score of Italy 4, Hungary 2. It was the last World Cup for 12 years; the world had other scores to settle.

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