The 1938 FIFA World Cup was the third staging of the World Cup, and was held in France from 4 June to 19 June. Italy retained the championship, beating Hungary 4–2 in the final.
France was chosen as hosts by FIFA in Berlin on August 13, 1936. France defeated Argentina and Germany in the first round of voting. The decision caused outrage in South America where it was believed that the venue would alternate between the two continents. Instead, it was the second tournament in a row to be played in Europe.
Because of anger over the decision to hold a second successive World Cup in Europe, neither Uruguay nor Argentina entered the competition. Spain became the first country to be out of the World Cup because of a war (the Spanish Civil War).
It was the first time that the hosts (France) and the title holders (Italy) qualified automatically. Title holders were given an automatic entry into the World Cup until 2006 when this was abolished.
Of the fourteen remaining places, eleven were allocated to Europe, two to the Americas, and one to Asia. As a result, only three non-European nations took part: Brazil, Cuba and the Dutch East Indies. This is the smallest ever number of teams from outside the host continent to compete at a FIFA World Cup.
Full article ▸