By now Europe was teetering on the brink of major conflict, and, two years after Hitler had used the Berlin Olympics to glorify Nazism, France was chosen to stage the 1938 World Cup.
Austria's 'Wunderteam' was a notable absentee -- Austria had been invaded by Germany -- while Spain were also missing, preoccupied with civil war. England were in conflict with FIFA, and South America, peeved at not being chosen as host after Italy 1934, sent only one representative, Brazil.
Asia was represented for the first time, by Indonesia, playing as the Dutch East Indies, though were quickly on their way home after losing 6-0 to Hungary in the first round.
Having edged Brazil 2-1 in the semis, Italy, under tough coach Vittorio Pozzo, lifted the trophy for the second tournament in succession, defeating Hungary 4-2 in the final at Colombes.
The Hungarians had reached the final by demolishing Sweden 5-1, despite conceding a goal after only 30 seconds.
Italy captain Giuseppe Meazza was the star of the Italian team, while Brazil's 'black diamond' Leonidas da Silva finished top scorer with eight goals, including four in an astonishing 6-5 victory over Poland.
1938 WORLD CUP LEGENDS
Italy: b. 1907, d. 1982
With Giuseppe Meazza, one of only two players to take part in both of Italy's World Cup winning teams of 1934 and 1938.
Although an inside left he made his debut for Italy against Switzerland in Rome in 1930 as an inside-right and put the ball over an empty goal while standing under the bar.
Became the indispensable constructive midfield player in the Italian side and won 44 caps, although he had to wait a year for the second of them, and scored 14 goals.
At Juventus he won five consecutive Italian championships and added another with Inter in 1938.
Leonidas DA SILVA
Brazil: b. 1913, d. 2004
Became known as the Black Diamond in Europe after the 1938 World Cup when he was leading scorer with eight goals but in Brazil he was known as O Homen Borracha (the Rubber Man) because of his remarkable agility.
Famed for his bicycle kicks, capped 23 times as inside or centre-forward and ranked alongside Pele by most Brazilians.
He was only 18 when he first played for Brazil and scored twice against Uruguay in 1932.
A veteran of the 1934 World Cup, he opened his account in the 1938 World Cup with four goals against Poland.
Italy: b. 1910, d. 1979
One of the most complete forwards ever to play for Italy. With Ferrari was one of only two players to appear for Italy in 1934 and 1938 winning World Cup sides.
Made his debut for Internazionale as a 17-year-old in 1927-28 and scored a dozen goals. The following season he scored 33, a record he would never surpass, although he got another 31 the next season.
Superb dribbler and although not tall remarkably good in the air.
Peppino, as he was nicknamed, made his debut for Italy against Switzerland at Rome in 1930 and scored twice in a 4-2 win. Made his name with three goals in a 5-0 win over Hungary in his fourth international and went on to score a record 33 goals for his country.
His first 15 caps were won at centre-forward but in 1933 he played inside right to Angelo Schiavio in a 3-1 win over Germany in Bologna.
It was a combination which would help them win the World Cup the following year.
Meazza played in every game in that competition, scoring once in the opening match, a 7-1 victory over the United States, and getting the vital goal in the bitterly-contested quarter-final replay with Spain.
In the 1938 World Cup he played alongside Silvio Piola and captained Italy to another victory, again playing in every match. His only goal was a winning penalty in the 2-1 semi-final win over Brazil.
1938 WORLD CUP SCORERS
Leonidas Da Silva (BRA) 8
Gyula Zsengeller (HUN) 7
Silvio Piola (ITA) 5
Gyorgy Sarosi (HUN) 4
Gino Colaussi (ITA) 4
Gustav Wetterstorm (SWE) 4
Ernst Willimowski (POL) 4
1938 WORLD CUP TRIVIA
- Disappointed fans attacked the Argentine Football Federation offices in Buenos Aires after Argentina pulled out of the competition when their application to host the event was rejected.
- For the first time both France as the hosts and Italy, the holders, were exempted from the qualifying rounds.
- Austria's 'Wunderteam' was plundered by Germany following Hitler's takeover in Vienna. However, it did the Germans little good -- they lost in a first round replay 4-2 to Switzerland.
- Out of 25 entries, 15 nations contested the finals, with eight again being seeded and one, Sweden, receiving a bye into the quarter-finals.
- Brazil's quarter-final clash with Czechoslovakia in Bordeaux degenerated into violence, with two Brazilians and one Czech sent off.
- France became the first hosts to lose a match when Italy beat them 3-1 in the quarter-finals.
- Italy's fascist dictator Benito Mussolini sent a telegram to coach Vittorio Pozzo before the final saying: "Win or die."
- Luckily Italy won, and Pozzo became the first coach to win the trophy twice following the 1934 success. Giuseppe Meazza and Giovanni Ferrari became the first players to win consecutive winners' medals.
- There was not another tournament for 12 years because of World War Two.
The Jules Rimet Trophy survived the hostilities, hidden under the bed of an official of the Italian Football Association.
1938 WORLD CUP WINNING SQUAD
Goalkeepers: Carlo Ceresoli, Guido Masetti, Aldo Olivieri
Defenders: Alfredo Foni, Eraldo Monzeglio, Pietro Rava
Midfielders: Michele Andreolo, Aldo Donati, Mario Genta, Ugo Locatelli, Renato Olmi, Mario Perazzolo, Pietro Serantoni
Forwards: Sergio Bertoni, Amedeo Biavati, Bruno Chizzo, Gino Colaussi, Giovanni Ferrari, Pietro Ferraris II, Guiseppe Meazza (capt) Pietro Pasinati, Silvio Piola
Coach: Vittorio Pozzo