World Cup 1938


Winners Italy
Teams 15
Host France
Teams in qualifiers 37
Notable absentees Argentina, England, Spain, Uruguay
Surprises Dutch East Indies (Indonesia), Cuba
Golden Boot Leônidas (Brazil) - 7
Stats A total of 84 goals were scored (4.67 per match); Hungary (15) scored the most
Format Straight knockout, replays for drawn matches
Number of matches 18

Innovations
• The host and holders automatically qualified for the first time
• Numbered shirts were used for the first time

Controversies
• Austria qualified but had to withdraw after they were annexed by Germany in March 1938

Trivia
• Ernst Loertscher of Switzerland became the first player to be officially credited with an own goal, playing against West Germany
• Italy captain Giuseppe Meazza's shorts fell down after he scored a penalty in the semi-final. He took the kick with one hand holding them up
• On the eve of the final, the Italian players reportedly received a telegram from Benito Mussolini that simply said: "Win or die." The Hungarian goalkeeper is reported to have said after the match: "I may have let in four goals, but at least I saved their lives."

Source: FIFA, ESPN, AllSports & Getty

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