The political situation in Europe had become more and more tense, with fascism, under the leadership of Adolf Hitler in Germany, taking a hold. Italy too was under the spell, with Benito Mussolini hoping to use the 1934 World Cup to further the glory of his own regime.
Sixteen teams -- 12 from Europe, three South Americans (though not the holders Uruguay) and one African nation, Egypt -- lined up for the finals, which were this time conducted purely on a knockout basis.
For the second successive time, the host country took the spoils. Under the approving gaze of Mussolini, the Italians saw off Czechoslovakia 2-1 in the final, though only after extra-time.
The Czechs silenced the partisan 50,000 crowd when Antonin Puc scored with just 20 minutes of the match remaining.
They almost added a second when the ball struck a post before Argentine-born Raimundo Orsi scored a late equaliser for Italy with a brilliant goal.
Italy clinched their first World Cup title when Angelo Schiavo scored the match-winner in the seventh minute of extra-time.
1934 WORLD CUP LEGENDS
Italy: b. 1902, d. 1956
Considered one of Italy's best ever goalkeepers. However it was only an injury to Ceresoli that allowed him to return for his 47th and last international when he captained Italy to victory in the 1934 World Cup final.
Disastrous debut for Italy when he let in seven goals against Hungary in Budapest in 1924 and national coach Vittorio Pozzo dropped him for the Olympics that year in Antwerp.
Won back his place the following year, when Italy scored seven goals against France at his Juventus ground, and consolidated his position in the 1928 Paris Olympics.
Won five Italian championships with Juventus before retiring after the 1934 World Cup.
Italy: b. 1905, d. 1990
Extra-time scorer of Italy's winning goal in 1934 final.
Schiavio's goal against the Czechs came as a result of coach Vittorio Pozzo's orders for him to switch positions with right winger Guaita every two or three minutes. The move paid off when he summoned up enough energy to shoot home Guaita's pass. Czech goalkeeper Planicka got his hands to the ball but it was too powerful to hold.
Scored 15 goals in 21 internationals and went out on top after that 1934 final.
Won Italian championship titles with Bologna in 1925, 1929 and 1936.
Spain: b. 1901, d. 1978
A cult figure in Spanish football, known as El Divino. Won 69 caps in all after making his goalkeeping debut for Spain in the 1920 Olympics. Not tall but covered the goal well and had fine anticipation.
Almost inspired Spain to victory over rampaging Italians in 1934 World Cup quarter-finals. He was injured when Italy equalised in the 1-1 draw and unable to play in the replay which Italy won.
His most sensational appearance was in 1931 against England at Highbury where he arrived with the reputation as the world's best goalkeeper only to let in seven goals.
Fifty years after his heyday he was still the most popular figure in Spanish football.
1934 WORLD CUP SCORERS
Oldrich Nejedly (CZE) 5
Angelo Schiavo (ITA) 4
Edmund Conen (GER) 4
Raimundo Orsi (ITA) 3
Leopold Kielholz (SWI) 3
1934 WORLD CUP TRIVIA
- Uruguay refused to defend their world title in Italy, as a protest against the European nations' apparent snubbing of the 1930 tournament.
- For the first time there were qualifying rounds. From the initial entry of 32 nations, 16 reached the finals which were run on a knock-out basis.
- This meant that Brazil and Argentina, both beaten in the first round, had travelled almost 10,000 miles for just one game.
- Unlike 1930, when all games were played in one centre, Montevideo, eight venues were used in Italy: Rome, Naples, Milan, Turin, Florence, Bologna, Genoa and Trieste.
- It had also been decided that extra-time would be played in the finals in the event of a draw at the end of 90 minutes. If there was still no result, then a replay would take place.
- In the opening match Angelo Schiavo became the first European player to score a World Cup hat-trick as the hosts Italy beat the USA 7-1.
- The first goal of the tournament was scored by Bellis of Argentina after just three minutes of their match against Sweden in Bologna.
- The first African nation to compete in the World Cup finals were Egypt. Fawzi scored both their goals in their 4-2 defeat by Hungary in Naples.
- The first World Cup-tie to go into extra-time was between Austria and France with they drew 1-1. Austria's so-called Wunderteam, under coach Hugo Meisl, finally emerged winners at 3-2, though they later went down 1-0 to Italy in the semi-finals.
- In the final between Italy and the Czechs both captains were the goalkeepers -- Giampiero Combi for Italy and Frantisek Planicka for Czechoslovakia.
1934 WORLD CUP WINNING SQUAD
Goalkeepers: Guiseppe Cavanna, Giamperro Combi (capt), Guido Masetti
Defenders: Luigi Allemandi, Eraldo Monzeglio, Virginio Rosetta, Mario Varglien I
Midfielders: Pietro Arcari, Luigi Bertolini, Umberto Caligaris, Mario Castellazi, Attilio Ferraris IV, Luis Monti, Mario Pizziolo
Forwards: Felice Placido Borel, Attilio Emaria, Giovanni Ferrari, Enrique Guaita, Anfilogino Guarisi, Giuseppe Meazza, Raimundo Orsi, Angelo Schiavio
Coach: Vittorio Pozzo