The controversies, shocks at the 1934 FIFA World Cup

Italy was chosen as the host but had to ensure participation by becoming the only host nation to play qualifiers.

Host: Italy
Teams: 16
Format: Round of 16, quarterfinals, semis, final
Matches: 17
Goals: 70
Winners: Italy
Runners-up: Czechoslovakia
Golden boot: Oldrich Nejedly

Background

With the foundation laid four years ago in Uruguay, FIFA decided to host the second edition of the World Cup in Europe.

Italy was chosen as the host but had to ensure participation by becoming the only host nation to play qualifiers.

It was joined by 32 other teams in the qualifying round, of which 16 proceeded to the main event.

In another first and only instance in a FIFA World Cup, holders Uruguay pulled out of the tournament to protest against most European teams’ absence from the 1930 World Cup it hosted.

Argentina and Brazil were the only South American teams to qualify for the tournament but failed to progress and the quarterfinals turned out to be an all-European affair.

The matches were spread across eight Italian cities with the final in Rome. The tightly contested final went into extra time, where star forward Angelo Schiavio scored within five minutes to complete a comeback win for the hosts.

Highs

Following the popularity of the first World Cup, FIFA acted swiftly to schedule the second edition and was able to rope in big names from Europe.

The qualification structure, spreading out of matches to different cities and third-place playoff were some of the key moves that FIFA would continue in the tournaments to come.

It was the first time that the tournament was broadcast live on radio in 12 of the 16 participating countries.

Luis Monti, who was part of the 1930 runners-up Argentina won the title with his newly adopted country Italy. He is the only player to have represented two countries in a World Cup final.

Lows

The tournament was held in Italy during the reign of Benito Mussolini and his fascist party.

Several allegations were made against the leader and his party related to corruption and the use of influence to favour the host nation.

The quarterfinal between Italy and Spain was marred by on-field fights, controversy and delays. It was finally settled by a replay.

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