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Football and the First World War
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See reviews of Rob Cavallini's The Wanderers FC, and Around The World In 95 Games.
History of the World Cup
The Early Years
The 1934 World Cup took place in Italy, and was actually the very first World Cup to feature a qualification stage, only 16 teams qualified for the competition, and this process was repeated right up until the 1982 finals, where the number increased to 32. Uruguay, who had won the trophy in 1930, were still upset about the poor European showing at their hosted finals, and therefore boycotted Italy 1934. Bolivia and Paraguay were absent, which meant that powerhouses Argentina and Brazil were allowed to progress directly to the finals without having to play a single game!
The competition made history as the first African team to compete were included, Egypt, however, they lost to the very strong Hungary in the first round. Not surprisingly, Italy won the competition fairly comfortably, but a scandal hit the football world afterwards. The hosts were said to have won the competition unfairly, and biased officiating took place in the eyes of many. Benito Mussolini was said to have influenced the choice of referees for his country’s matches. In 1938, the tournament was held in Europe, much to the dismay of teams from South America – Uruguay and Argentina boycotted. Only 15 nations competed due to Austria’s involvement in the Anschluss in April 1983, and England declining the free space. France ended up hosting the competition, however it was Italy who retained their title, defeating Hungary in the final. Again, the World Cup made history, as Polish striker Ernest Willimowski became the first place to score four goals in the competition during his team’s 6-5 defeat to Brazil. He record was later equalled by other players, however was only bettered in the 1994 World Cup, some 56 years later.
Nowadays the World Cup has millions of followers, even from people who are not generally big football fans; many people simply feel patriotic towards their country. The online betting market has also boomed, with increasing numbers of people interested in earning themselves a quick win on World Cup betting. Partybets.com are just one company where you can check odds online and get the latest stats for players and teams.