No one expected celebrations with great fanfare, but at least a “social memory” or some short celebratory video to be played on the net, as it is fashionable in these “emotional” years, there could be. Instead, the memory of the first soccer world championship won by Italy exactly 85 years ago goes quietly . A few little articles on the web here and there, mostly to speak ill of the Duce and to emphasize the alleged “arbitration favors” that would have allowed the Azzurri to win the 1934 Rimet Cup. Nothing more. Yet that 2-1 trimmed to Czechoslovakia on June 10th 85 years ago marked the birth of one of the strongest national football teams of all time. Italy not only in the times of fascism repeating the success at the World Championships in France in 1938 – besides us two consecutive World Cups only Pelé’s Brazil won – but they also won the Berlin Olympics in 1936 (and in those years the Olympic football victory was worth as much as that of the championship Fifa).
Vittorio Pozzo the “founder” of Italian football
True and proper architect of the 1934 success was the then technical commissioner Vittorio Pozzo. The author of a solid and concrete game, perhaps not a magician under the “technical” profile – even though he was responsible for the invention of the game system called “method” which represented a great tactical innovation – it was, as Bruno Pizzul said ” A great motivator, from the old Alpine he made the songs sing to the players to motivate them, he had a great spirit and was rigorous in athletic preparation”. A man of modest and no-frills sport, he paid his convinced adhesion to the fascist regime with the resignation that the FIGC forced him to give in 1948. And the results of the national team did not give reason to the new course in the post-war period, given that the first trophy will arrive only with the victory of the European championship in 1968, while for the World Cup it will be until wait until 1982.
The Duce’s intuition
It was therefore also thanks to Benito Mussolini that in 1934 the Italian national football team inaugurated an incredible cycle of victories . But not because the Duce was in reality an Moggi ante litteram as recounted in some articles published today , where it is told of arbitrages driven to make Byron Moreno fade, rather thanks to the intuition of the regime to make football the Italian national sport. Thus it was that Fascist Italy was already a candidate in 1928 to host the 1930 World Cup, then giving up participation after the controversial assignment to Uruguay (only 4 European teams took part in the first South American World Championship in protest). The first European world was therefore hosted by Italy.
The path of the blues
The knockout tournament started from the first knockout round, in which Italy easily defeated the United States 7-1. The backbone of the team was largely that of Juventus (seven bianconeri holders), to which were added other great champions such as Giuseppe Meazza, Attilio Ferraris and Angelo Schiavio. In the quarter-finals, Italy found Spain,one of the favorites. The match ended 1-1, with the Italian tie perhaps flawed, according to detractors, by a charge on goalkeeper Zamora. At the time there were no penalties and the match was repeated the following day, with the Azzurri overcoming the red fury thanks to a goal from Meazza.
The semi-final was also a battle, won 1-0 against the very strong Austria . To mark was the native Guaita. In the final , Italy managed to overturn the result against the favored Czechoslovakia . Finding themselves at a disadvantage a quarter of an hour from the end, the Azzurri equalized after a few minutes with Orsi and found the victory by 2-1 at the first extra time thanks to a goal by Angelo Schiavio. It was a victory of will, evidenced by the fact that Schiavio was injured when he found the winning goal (there were no substitutions at the time). He went down in history as “the goal of the lame”.
In other words 85 years ago a sporting epic began unparalleled in the history of European football that deserves to be remembered more worthily. Unfortunately, the fact that Mussolini was in government in those years has cooled the enthusiasm of today’s sports leaders and reporters.
Davide Di Stefano