Monday, 17 June 2013
The 1934 World Cup finals mixed sports and politics, as it was staged under the Fascist rule of Benito Mussolini in Italy.
A regular spectator at Rome's Nazionale stadium during the second World Cup, Il Duce made the tournament his Berlin Olympics, using the competition to showcase Italy and trumpet his Fascist regime to the world, while at the same time uniting the country behind the national team.
This was the first finals for which teams had to qualify to take part, and the only ever where the reigning champions have not participated.
Italy became the second World Cup champions, beating Czechoslovakia 2–1 in the final after extra time.
Critics contended the Azzurri only won because the tournament had been staged on their home soil. It was an argument Italy emphatically refuted four years later.
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