Scores were (half time scores in brackets):

Italy 2(0) - Brazil 1 (0)
Attendance 35, 000

For the semi-final against Italy, Brazil inexplicably left out Leonidas, their one truly top drawer striker. As night followed day it was inevitable that Leonidas’s replacement Peracio would miss the only two genuine chances that fell to him. Italy were more ruthless, scoring twice; Brazil’s consolation goal coming with just three minutes left on the clock.

World Cup Final played on 19 June 1938 in Paris.

Italy 4 (3) - Hungary 2 (1)
Attendance 55, 000.

Italy: Olivieri, Foni, Rava, Serantoni, Andreoli, Locatelli, Biavati, Meazza, Piola, Ferrari, Colaussi.

Hungary : Szabo, Polgar, Biro, Szaly, Szucs, Lazar, Saz, Vincze, Sarosi, Zsengeller, Titkos.

The 1938 World Cup final was between a Mediterranean country and a Central European one, a contest between a physically robust side and a skilful one. The bullying tactics of the Italians set the tone from the outset; Colaussi the Italian winger swept in after only five minutes to put his team one up. Hungary managed to retaliate almost straight away as an unmarked Titkos charged in to equalise. Yet this merely made the Italians tighten their grip, Piola scoring just over a third of the way into the first half, to be followed by Colaussi again with little more than ten minutes to half time.

The game was over as a contest, the Italians presenting a most formidable defensive unit, a reputation that has been maintained ever since. It’s true that fortune gifted the Hungarians a second goal after a defensive mix-up; yet this simply provoked the Italians into scoring the best goal of the match, Piola and Biavati combining some delicious one-twos including a back-heel, which Piola thumped home. The Hungarians had less than ten minutes to make good the two goal deficit, it proved impossible.

© 2006 World Cup Years Ltd.