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Sunday, May 3, 1998 Published at 17:28 GMT 18:28 UK

Meet the BBC Team
France 1938
image: [ Italy become World Cup winners ]
Italy become World Cup winners


The German team illustrate divisions within Europe [10'']
With the threat of war, the 1938 World Cup was staged in Europe in a bid to show harmony among the nations. France, the hosts, modernised its stadiums for the event, just as it has done 30 years on, and Italy retained their title.

Who played?

For the first time the host nation - France - and holders - Italy - qualified automatically. But some South Americans chose not to travel to Europe, believing the tournament should have been held in Argentina instead.

What happened?

Brazil did compete and impressed from the start, beating Poland 6-5 after extra-time. They knocked out Czechoslovakia after a quarter-final replay and were fancied to beat reigning champions Italy in the semi-final.

But the Brazilian coach, Pimenta, blundered by resting his key striker and the tournament's top goal-scorer, Leonidas. Italy won 2-1 and went on to meet Hungary in the final.

Italy dominated the match, their 4-2 victory making them back-to-back World Cup winners.

Any lasting memories?

Brazil's quarter-final against Czechoslovakia ended in an all-out brawl with three players sent off and two taken to hospital. Sadly World War II meant the World Cup was put on hold for 12 years.





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In this section:

Radio 5 Live's France 98 Coverage

Platini - legend on and off the pitch

Ten of the best

England can't rely on lady luck

Uruguay 1930

USA 1994

Italy 1990

Mexico 1986

Sweden 1958

World Cup History

Switzerland 1954

Spain 1982

Brazil 1950

France 1938

Mexico 1970

England 1966

Italy 1934

Argentina 1978

Germany 1974

Chile 1962

No ticket to ride

Tackling new rules

BBC TV at the heart of France 98