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Sunday, May 3, 1998 Published at 17:27 GMT 18:27 UK

Meet the BBC Team
Italy 1934

The second World Cup was held amid the fanatical fascism of the Italian dictator Benito Mussolini and for the second time in a row the hosts lifted the trophy.

Who played?

Thirty-two nations entered the qualifying rounds, with the exception of several South American sides, including reigning champions Uruguay. This was their reaction to Europe's poor attendance at the 1930 tournament.

A qualifying round was introduced to produce the 16 teams that would go to Italy.

What happened?

With the majority of participants coming from Europe, it was almost inevitable that all the quarter-finalists were all European. Spain and Italy met at this stage. They were deadlocked 2-2 after extra-time and a replay was arranged for the next day.

Italy's Meazza scored the only goal of that game. Two days later against Austria he netted his fourth goal of the week to put his team into the final against Czechoslovakia, who knocked out Germany.

Mussolini called the nation to a standstill on Sunday June 10, expecting a glorious triumph for Italy. But with 20 minutes left the Czechs took the lead to silence the del Partiti stadium. Mussolini though would have his victory. Orsi equalised and Schiavio's goal in extra-time gave Italy the title.

Any lasting memories?


[ image: The German team in facist salute]
The German team in facist salute
The host nation had to play the qualifying round and although they were deserving winners, Mussolini's fascist salute to the crowd overshadowed the celebrations.





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Uruguay 1930

USA 1994

Italy 1990

Mexico 1986

Sweden 1958

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France 1938

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