The third World Cup was awarded to France, it has been suggested with war looming across Europe this was an attempt to show harmony between the nations. The Spanish civil war was already ranging and this would be the last major sporting event before World War 2 started the following year.
The next World Cup would be in 1950. FIFA also had in mind the problems of the last tournament held in that continent and the traveling involved. Once again the South Americans were unhappy with the choice of venue. Uruguay and Argentina boycotted the competition.
The South American sides felt the tournaments should rotate between the two continents with Argentina claiming it was their turn to host the event. The FIFA congress in 1936 had voted France 16 votes, Argentina 4 and Germany nil. For the first time the hosts (France) and holders (Italy) were given automatic qualification.
Their manager, Sepp Herberger, would return and win the trophy in 1954.
The competition once again being a straight knock out format. Austria’s place was not offered to Latvia who had been second in Austria's group. FIFA did invite England, who had already declined one request at the qualifying stage, who declined again. The home nations were still in disagreement with FIFA over the rules regarding amateur players.
The first round saw the Dutch East Indies (Indonesia) make their only appearance on the world stage as they lost 6-0 to Hungary. Whilst Cuba who replaced Mexico at the last minute took Rumania to a replay and then beat them to progress.
The only South American team, Brazil, played Poland in an amazing game that finished 6-5. Ernest Wilimowski scored four goals, the first man to do so in the Finals and he was still on the losing side. The Brazilian Leonidas scored a hat trick in that game and was the tournaments top scorer with seven. He is said to have had great acrobatic skills which led to his nickname in Brazil, ‘The Rubber Man.’ Leonidas was left out of the side for the semi-final. The coach claimed he was resting him for the final, although some felt he was trying to hide the player was injured. Either way Brazil lost in the semi-final. Leonidas did return for the 3rd place play off where he scored twice. The European crowd called him ‘The Black Diamond.’ Upon his return to Brazil he endorsed a chocolate bar with this name.
In another quarter final France met Italy, who at the order of Mussolini worn black shirts. Italy progressed and would beat Hungary 4-2 in the Final of the 15 day event. Italy becoming the first team to retain the trophy and France the first host nation not to be champions.
Meanwhile in N17 - Having been relegated in 1935. Tottenham finished 5th in Division 2.
Top image - Poster for the competition.
Thanks to - FIFA, BBC, The Times, ESPN, Planet World Cup, The Guardian,
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