On this day 10 June 1934 (Exactly 85 years ago) Hosts Italy became the first European winners of the FIFA World Cup after beating Czechoslovakia 2 – 1 after extra – time in the final match of the second edition of the tournament.
It was a tournament on a bigger scale than four years before, with eight host cities compared with one and live radio broadcasts taking the action to listeners in 12 of the competing countries. Yet as in Uruguay, it was the home side who took the spoils, goals from Raimondo Orsi and Angelo Schiavio helping Vittorio Pozzo’s Italy secure a 2-1 comeback triumph against Czechoslovakia in the Final in Rome.
After the success of the first FIFA World Cup, there was now a 32-team preliminary round to decide the 16 finalists. In the only instance of its kind, Italy had to qualify for their own tournament by defeating Greece. Mexico provided another one-off by travelling to the finals but not playing a single game. Although they had initially beaten Cuba to earn a place, a late application by the United States left the unlucky Mexicans facing another qualifier on arrival in Rome and they lost out 4-2.
Uruguay were the most notable omission from the lineup of contenders, having declined to participate in retaliation for Italy’s refusal to travel in 1930 – thereby creating another footnote in the history books as the only holders not to defend their prize. The South American teams that did make the long journey were soon bound for home as Argentina and Brazil, both fielding under-strength sides, suffered first-round losses to Sweden and Spain respectively.
Argentina, who featured no survivors from 1930, had been unhappy to lose several key players to Italian football, among them midfielder Luisito Monti, who had appeared in the Final four years earlier. He would now play his part in Italy’s victory along with Atilio DeMaria, Enrico Guaita and Orsi – all fellow ‘oriundi’, players of Italian descent now returned from South America.
Orsi scored twice and Schiavio a hat-trick as Italy, well prepared by the authoritarian Pozzo, made an emphatic start by thrashing the United States 7-1 in Rome. It was the biggest win of the tournament but not the only eye-catching performance of the first round. Egypt, the first African representatives on the world stage, retrieved a two-goal deficit against Hungary before eventually succumbing 4-2. France, meanwhile, supplied unexpectedly obdurate opposition for Austria, taking the lead against the Wunderteam before losing out 3-2 after extra time.
Austria underline credentials
Austria rivalled Italy for the tag of tournament favourites. Coach Hugo Meisl had refined the short passing game introduced to central Europe by Englishman Jimmy Hogan and, with an attack orchestrated by the so-called ‘Paper Man’, the frail but graceful Matthias Sindelar, they had underlined their credentials by beating the Italians 4-2 in Florence four months before. However, there was little opportunity for flowing football in an ill-tempered quarter-final success over neighbours Hungary that was likened to a “street battle” by one contemporary account.
Nor did the conditions facilitate their favoured passing game in the ensuing semi-final against Italy where Sindelar’s threat was stymied by the close-marking Monti. On a wet, heavy pitch, the hosts prevailed through Guaita’s solitary first-half strike, showing admirable stamina in what was their third match in four days following a hard-fought quarter-final contest with Spain.
The Azzurri had battled back to draw 1-1 with Spain when the sides met on 31 May. Twenty-four hours later they squared off again – with Spain goalkeeper Ricardo Zamora absent from the much-changed lineups – and this time Giuseppe Meazza, a forward so good they named the San Siro after him, scored the only goal. The Spanish headed home pointing to disallowed efforts in both games but that did not matter to an Italian public swept up in a mood of nationalistic fervour.
Of the 367,000 spectators who passed through the turnstiles, more than half of that number were for the home nation’s five matches, which averaged 37,600 fans. Such was the desire of Italy’s fascist leader Benito Mussolini to showcase his country’s strengths, he even had an additional trophy commissioned – the Coppa Del Duce, whose dimensions dwarfed the real thing.
Italy’s opponents in the Final in Rome on 10 June would be Czechoslovakia. Like Austria, they were pupils of the ‘Danubian school’ of short passing and had noted performers at both ends of the field in goalkeeper Frantisek.
Planicka and forward Oldrich Nejedly, whose five goals earned him the Golden Shoe. After a narrow first-round victory over Romania, they had needed to come from behind to defeat Switzerland 3-2 in the last eight, Nejedly grabbing a late winner. The same player’s hat-trick then secured a 3-1 semi-final triumph over a Germany side who gained some consolation by claiming the bronze medal at Austria’s expense.
Nejedly did not score in the Final but Puc did, the Czech winger stunning most of the 50,000 crowd in the PNF Stadium with a low drive that put the underdogs ahead with just 14 minutes remaining. Italy almost conceded a second when Svoboda struck the frame of the goal but instead, in the 81st minute, they were level as Orsi’s freakish shot swerved past Planicka.
Into extra time and Pozzo showed he was more than a mere disciplinarian, his instructions to Guaita and Schiavino to switch positions bearing fruit as the pair combined for the winner. From Meazza’s cross, Guaita played in Schiavino and he found the back of the net. Italy were world champions for the first time.
Venue: Stadio Nazionale del PNF
Italy 2 – 1 Czechoslovakia
Raimundo Orsi (82) Antonin Puc70
Angelo Schiavio( 95)
Italy :Giampiero Combi, Eraldo Monzeglio, Luigi Allemandi, Attilo Ferraris, Luis Monti, Luigi Bertolini, Enrique Guaita, Giuseppe Meazza, Angelo Schiavio, Giovanni Ferrari, Raimundo Orsi.
Manager :Vittorio Pozzo
Czechoslovakia :Planicka, Ctyroky, Zenisek, Kostalek, Cambal, Krcil, Junek, Svoboda, Sobotka, Nejedly, Puc
Manager :Karel Petrů
Referee: Ivan Eklind (Sweden)
On this day 10 June 1990 (Exactly 29 years ago) America’s goalkeeper Antonio Michael “Tony” Meola became the youngest captain in the history of the FIFA World Cup when he led his team against Czechoslovakia in Comunale Florence in a 5- 1 defeat .
On this day 10 June 2002 (Exactly 17 years ago) Pedro Pauleta scored a superb hat-trick as Portugal got their World Cup campaign underway at the Jeonju World Cup stadium in Korea with 4-0 win over Poland.
Pauleta (14, 65, 77)
Rui Costa (87)
On this day 10 June 1968(Exactly 51 years ago) Hosts Italy beat Yugoslavia in the replay of the 1968 UEFA European Championship final at the Stadio Olympico, Rome with goals from Luigi Riva and Pietro Anastasi. The Azzuri came within nine minutes of defeat in the first attempt to decide the 1968 UEFA European Championship winners but they returned to Rome’s Stadio Olympico 48 hours later as a different preposition , dominating Yugoslavia from the start.
In the original final on the June 8 which ended 1-1, injuries to Giancarlo Bercellino and Gianni Rivera let in Aristide Guarneri, which did nothing to weaken the defence – but also Giovanni Lodetti, who was Rivera’s lieutenant with Milan. Italy struggled as a result, Lodetti and Antonio Juliano being whistled by the crowd for holding on to the ball. At the other end, the mobility of Vahidin Musemic and his two wingers caused Italy no end of problems.
Ivica Osim’s damaged ankle meant a first cap for the 19-year-old Jovan Acimovic, who was just as skilful. Yugoslavia, very composed for such a young team, might have had a penalty when Giorgio Ferrini pushed Miroslav Pavlovic – and Dragan Dzajic was again the star, pushing Dobrivoje Trivic’s pass across Ernesto Castano and Dino Zoff for the opening goal and nearly scoring twice more in the second half. Just to show that their approach against England had not been out of character, the visitors defended their lead with tackling that incurred four bookings.
Like Acimovic, Pietro Anastasi was winning his first cap. Immediately after the tournament, he became the most expensive player in the world – but not for this performance. Piero Prati did well enough, but things were looking increasingly desperate until Angelo Domenghini was at last rewarded for all his efforts. After hitting a post in the semi-final, he did the same with a free-kick here – then got it right with another, crashing the ball to Ilija Pantelic’s left in the Yugoslavian goal after Blagoje Paunovic had fouled Lodetti. Cue explosion of relief on the terraces.
When the violence continued in extra time, the referee belatedly called the two captains together. Otherwise the additional half-hour produced nothing but tiredness, which worked to Italy’s advantage two days later.
ITALY:Zoff, Burgnich, Facchetti (c), Ferrini, Aristide Guarneri, Castano, Domenghini, Juliano, Pietro Anastasi, Giovanni Lodetti, Prati.
Coach: Ferruccio Valcareggi
YUGOSLAVIA:Pantelic, Fazlagic (c), Damjanovic, Pavlovic, Paunovic, Holcer, Petkovic, Trivic, Musemic, Jovan Acimovic, Dzajic.
Coach: Rajko Mitic
On this day 10 June 2008 (Exactly 11 years ago) David Villa Sanchez scored the 8th and last hat-trick in the history of the UEFA European Championship as Spain beat Russia by four goals to one.
Villa exhibited his pace, persistence and unparalleled eye for goal in this dazzling performance. From a simple tap-in – Fernando Torres had done the hard work – to open the scoring, to a pacy, bustling run and precision finish to wrap up his treble, the then Valencia striker was the perfect apex to a Spanish side packed to the brim with artists and creators.
On this day 10 June 1979 (Exactly 40 years ago) 18-time Grand Slam singles champion Chris Evert dominated Wendy Turnbull of Australia 6-2, 6-0 for her 3rd French singles crown.
On this day 10 June 1984 (Exactly 35 years ago) Czech star Ivan Lendl won his 1st career Grand Slam title; beat John McEnroe 3-6, 2-6, 6-4, 7-5, 7-5 in the French Open final.
On this day 10 June 1989 (Exactly 30 years ago) Arantxa Sánchez Vicario of Spain won her first Grand Slam singles title; beat Steffi Graf 7-6, 3-6, 7-5 at the Roland Garros.
On this day 10 June 1990 (Exactly 29 years ago) Andres Gomez of Ecuador won his 1st and only career Grand Slam title; beat American Andre Agassi 6-3, 2-6, 6-4, 6-
On this day 10 June 1995 (Exactly 24 years ago) 22-time Grand Slam singles champion Steffi Graf beat Arantxa Sánchez Vicario 7-5, 4-6, 6-0 with pivotal 32-point game in 3rd set for her 4th French Open title.
On this day 10 June 2000 (Exactly 19 years ago) France’s Mary Pierce beat Conchita Martinez of Spain 6-2, 7-5 for her 2nd and last career Grand Slam singles title and her 1st singles title at Roland Garros.
On this day 10 June 2001 (Exactly 18 years ago) Gustavo Kuerten of Brazil won his 3rd French title; beat Spaniard Àlex Corretja 6-7, 7-5, 6-2, 6-0
On this day 10 June 2006 (Exactly 13 years ago) Justine Henin retained her French Open title; beat Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia 6-4, 6-4 for 5th Grand Slam singles crown.
On this day 10 June 2007 (Exactly 12 years ago) Spaniard Rafael Nadal won the French Open title for the 3rd consecutive year after beating Roger Federer 6-3, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.
On this day 10 June 2012 (Exactly 7 years ago) Maria Sharapova won her first French title; beat Sara Errani of Italy 6-3, 6-2.
On this day 10 June 2017 (Exactly 2 years ago) Jeļena Ostapenko upset Simona Halep 4–6, 6–4, 6–3 to claim her 1st Grand Slam title; first Latvian to win a Grand Slam singles title.
On this day 10 June 2018 (Exactly a year ago) Rafael Nadal beat Dominic Thiem of Austria 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 for his record 11th French title (17th Grand Slam victory).
BY: GEORGE ‘Alan Green’ MAHAMAH