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Wednesday, 17 April, 2002, 08:42 GMT 09:42 UK
France 1938
Italy receive the World Cup trophy
Italy were crowned world champions for a second time
The threat of war hung over the 1938 World Cup and Italy took advantage of the absence of several South American nations to win for a second time.

The event was held in Europe in a bid to show harmony among the nations, but Uruguay and Argentina were again not happy with the decision and so stayed at home.

For the first time, the holders Italy and the hosts France qualified automatically, a privilege that has survived to the present day.

The Italians were lucky to survive the opening round, beating Norway 2-1 only after extra time in a repeat of the Olympic semi-final two years before.

Among the competitors in France were Cuba and the Dutch East Indies, making their only appearances to date, while Brazil were the only South American country to compete.

The Brazilians impressed from the start. Despite giving six players their debuts, they beat Poland in a 6-5 thriller after extra-time with Leonidas and Willimowski scoring four goals each.

Brazil then knocked out Czechoslovakia 2-1 in a quarter-final replay.

The skippers shake hands before the 1938 final
The skippers shake hands before the 1938 final

The first match had ended in an all-out brawl, with three players sent off and two taken to hospital.

Elsewhere, Hungary swept past the Dutch East Indies in the opening round and the Swedes routed Cuba 8-0 in the second.

The Cubans, who were only at the finals because Mexico had pulled out, emerged with some credit having earlier drawn 3-3 with a strong Romanian team and won the replay 2-1.

France beat Belgium but lost 3-1 in the quarter-finals to Italy. For the first time, the host nation would not win.

Brazil were fancied to beat champions Italy in the semi-final but the Brazilian coach Adheniar Pimenta blundered tactically.

He rested Leonidas, the tournament's top goalscorer, and Italy duly won 2-1 before going on to meet Hungary, who had cruised past Sweden.

Italy dominated the match, with two goals each for Colaussi and Piola and their 4-2 victory made them back-to-back World Cup winners.

Dr Ottorino Barassi, the Italian Fifa vice-president, then kept the trophy safe in a shoe-box under his bed throughout the Second World War.


Preliminary round results:
Switzerland 1-1 Germany (aet)
Czechoslovakia 3-0 Holland (aet)
Italy 2-1 Norway (aet)
France 3-1 Belgium
Hungary 6-0 Dutch East Indies
Brazil 6-5 Poland (aet)
Cuba 3-3 Romania (aet)

Preliminary round replay results:
Switzerland 4-2 Germany
Cuba 2-1 Romania

Quarter-finals results:
Sweden 8-0 Cuba
Brazil 1-1 Czechoslovakia (aet)
Hungary 2-0 Switzerland
Italy 3-1 France

Quarter-final replay:
Brazil 2-1 Czechoslovakia

Semi-finals results:
Italy 2-1 Brazil
Hungary 5-1 Sweden

3rd/4th place play-off:
Brazil 4-2 Sweden

World Cup Final:
Italy 4-2 Hungary

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