After eight meetings FIFA decided to award the 1934 finals to Italy, the Italian bid was chosen in preference to the bid from the Swedish government. 32 countries applied to take part so for the first time a qualifying stage was held. Reigning champions Uruguay refused to enter as a protest of several European countries refusing to travel to South America for the 1930 tournament. The home nations also refused to enter as FA committee member Charles Sutcliffe’s view was "the national associations of England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland have quite enough to do in their own International Championship which seems to me a far better World Championship than the one to be staged in Rome".
Despite their role as hosts, Italy were still required to qualify, the first and only time the host nation was not granted automatic qualification. The qualifying matches were arranged on a geographical basis. Withdrawals by Chile and Peru meant Argentina and Brazil qualified without playing a single match.
Twelve of the sixteen places were allocated to Europe, three to the Americas, and one to Africa or Asia (including Turkey). Only ten of the 32 entrants, and four of the 16 qualified teams (Brazil, Argentina, United States and Egypt, the first African team to qualify for a World Cup finals tournament), were from outside Europe. The last place in the finals was contested between the United States and Mexico only three days before the start of the tournament in a one-off match in Rome, which the United States won.
The majority of the 16 teams were making their first World Cup appearance. These included nine of the twelve European teams (Italy, Germany, Spain, the Netherlands, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Sweden, Austria, and Switzerland) together with Egypt. Egypt would not qualify for another World Cup final until the next time the competition was held in Italy, in 1990.
All eight first round matches kicked off at the same time. Hosts and favourites Italy won handsomely, defeating the USA 7–1; the New York Times correspondent wrote that "only the fine goal-tending of Julius Hjulian of Chicago kept the score as low as it was".
Internal disputes meant Argentina's squad for the tournament did not contain a single member of the team which had reached the final in 1930. Against Sweden in Bologna, Argentina twice took the lead, but two goals by Sven Jonasson and a winner by Knut Kroon gave Sweden a 3–2 victory. Fellow South Americans Brazil also suffered an early exit. Spain beat them comfortably; 3–1 the final score.
For the only time in World Cup history, the last eight consisted entirely of European teams—Austria, Czechoslovakia, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. All four non-European teams who made the journey to Italy were eliminated after one match.
In the quarter-finals, the first replayed match in World Cup history took place, when Italy and Spain drew 1–1 after extra time. The match was played in a highly aggressive manner. Rough play injured the Spanish goalkeeper Ricardo Zamora in the first match, leaving him unable to participate in the replay. Italy won the replay 1–0, their play so physical that at least three Spaniards had to depart the field with injuries. Italy then went on to beat Austria in the semi finals by the same score. Meanwhile, Czechoslovakia secured their place in the final by beating Germany 3–1.
The Stadium of the National Fascist Party was the venue for the final. With 80 minutes played, the Czechoslovakians were ahead 1–0. The Italians managed to score before the final whistle, and then added another goal in extra time to be crowned World Cup Winners.
Italy's total of three goals conceded in five matches was a record low for a world champion. It was matched by England in 1966 (who played six matches) and Brazil in 1994 (who played seven), but was not surpassed until 1998 when France won the World Cup conceding only two goals over seven games, Italy in 2006 and Spain in 2010.
Taken from 1934 World Cup (Wikipedia)
|19||27 May||Austria||3-2||France||16,000||Stadio Benito Mussolini||Turin|
|20||27 May||Czechoslavkia||2-1||Romania||9,000||Stadio Littorio||Trieste|
|21||27 May||Germany||5-2||Belgium||8,000||Stadio Giovanni Berta||Florence|
|22||27 May||Hungary||4-2||Egypt||9,000||Stadio Giorgio Ascarelli||Naples|
|23||27 May||Italy||7-1||U.S.A||25,000||Stadio Nazionale||Rome|
|24||27 May||Spain||3-1||Brazil||21,000||Stadio Luigi Ferraris||Genoa|
|25||27 May||Sweden||3-2||Argentina||14,000||Stadio Littoriale||Bologna|
|26||27 May||Switzerland||3-2||Holland||33,000||Stadio San Siro||Milan|
||Switzerland||12,000||Stadio Benito Mussolini||Turin|
||Stadio San Siro||Milan|
||Stadio Giovanni Berta||Florence|
||Italy||1-0||Spain||43,000||Stadio Giovanni Berta||Florence|
Stadio San Siro
|3rd Place PO|
|17||Johnannes van Moosel||1||Holland||1934||1|