The 1934 FIFA World Cup Italy was the second edition of the Men’s World Soccer Championship organized by FIFA. It took place in Italy between May 27 and June 10, 1934. After the success of the 1930 edition in Uruguay, this was the first time that the championship was held in a European country.
Due to the number of federations interested in participating, FIFA established a qualifying phase to cover the 16 places available, in which even Italy participated despite being the host. Uruguay, winner in 1930, refused to participate because Italy did not want to go to its World Cup, being to date the only champion who has not wanted to defend his title. In fact, only four non-European states participated: Argentina, Brazil, the United States and Egypt, the first African country to take part. In total, ten countries debuted in the competition.
The organization eliminated the group stage and changed the format to a phase of direct elimination to a single match, something that would only be repeated in the 1938 edition. In the event of a tie, a 30-minute extension would be played, and if the result remained the same a tiebreaker game was to be played the next day. The great final between Italy and Czechoslovakia, held at the National Stadium of the National Fascist Party, ended with the hosts’ victory 2-1, and it was the first that needed an additional time to resolve.
Apart from sports, the 1934 World Cup was used by the dictator Benito Mussolini from a propagandistic and nationalist point of view, with the aim of selling abroad the achievements and ideals of Italian fascism. the title has been accused of enjoying favorable arbitrations during this tournament.
The success of the 1930 Football World Cup motivated FIFA to celebrate a second edition four years later, as agreed in the different congresses of the body. Given that Uruguay hosted the inaugural championship, it was accepted that a state of Europe welcomed the 1934.
At the XXI FIFA Congress, held in October 1932 in Stockholm, the executive committee announced that the 1934 World Cup would take place in Italy. Before reaching that decision there was an intense debate, it is known that Sweden wanted to present a candidacy, but they ended up withdrawing it because Italy had a more advanced project. On the other hand, Germany had asked FIFA for football to return to the 1936 Berlin Olympics after his absence four years ago. The event was again held but only with amateur players, leaving the World Cup as the professional tournament par excellence.
Behind the proposal of the Italian Football Federation was the government of the dictator Benito Mussolini, who used the event from a propaganda and nationalist point of view to unify the country. Once it was granted, Mussolini put pressure on the national sport’s managerial positions, coach Vittorio Pozzo and his players to win the title, as they later ended up recognizing some of them, Italy wanted to ensure success in their World Cup even before his concession, when in 1931 he authorized the arrival of South Americans with Italian ancestry (oriundi) such as the Argentines Luis Monti, Attilio Demaría, Enrique Guaita and Raimundo Orsi, and the Brazilian Anfilogino Guarisi, who were later nationalized. The organizing committee also spared no expense, allocating a budget of 3.5 million lire and up to eight venues with new or refurbished stadiums for the occasion: Bologna, Florence, Genoa, Milan, Naples, Rome (venue of the final), Turin and Trieste