1938 FIFA World Cup qualification

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1938 FIFA World Cup Qualification
Tournament details
Teams 37 (from 3 confederations)
Tournament statistics
Matches played 22
Goals scored 96 (4.36 per match)
1934
1950

A total of 37 teams entered the 1938 FIFA World Cup qualification rounds, competing for a total of 16 spots in the final tournament. For the first time the title holders and the host country were given automatic qualification. Therefore, France, as the hosts, and Italy, as the defending champions, qualified automatically, leaving 14 spots open for competition.

Due to the Spanish Civil War, Spain withdrew from the competition. The remaining 34 teams were divided into 12 groups, based on geographical considerations, as follows:

  • Groups 1 to 9 - Europe: 11 places, contested by 23 teams (including Egypt and Palestine).
  • Groups 10 and 11 - The Americas: 2 places, contested by 9 teams.
  • Group 12 - Asia: 1 place, contested by 2 teams.

However, due to the withdrawal of Austria after qualifying (they had been annexed by Germany), only 15 teams actually competed in the final tournament. FIFA did not offer participation to the runner-up of the group that Austria had played in, Latvia.

A total of 21 teams played at least one qualifying match. A total of 22 qualifying matches were played, and 96 goals were scored (an average of 4.36 per match).

Format[edit]

The 12 groups had different rules, as follows:

  • Group 1 had 4 teams. The teams played against each other once. The group winner and runner-up would qualify.
  • Groups 2, 3, 4 and 7 had 2 teams each. The teams played against each other on a home-and-away basis. The group winners would qualify.
  • Group 5: had 2 teams. The teams played against each other once on neutral ground. The group winner would qualify.
  • Groups 6 and 8 had 3 teams each. The strongest team of each group was seeded. There would be two rounds of play:
    • First Round: The seeded team received a bye and advanced to the Final Round directly. The remaining 2 teams played against each other on a home-and-away basis. The winner would advance to the Final Round.
    • Final Round: The seeded team played against the winner of the First Round at home. The winner would qualify.
  • Group 9 had 3 teams. The teams played against each other once. The group winner and runner-up would qualify.
  • Group 10 had 2 teams. The group winner would qualify.
  • Group 11 had 7 teams. The group winner would qualify.
  • Group 12 had 2 teams. The group winner would qualify.

Key:

  • Teams highlighted in green qualified for the finals.
  • Teams highlighted in Orange qualified for the final phase of their group.

Group 1[edit]

Rank Team Pld W D L GF GA GAv Pts
1  Germany 3 3 0 0 11 1 11.0 6
2  Sweden 3 2 0 1 11 7 1.57 4
3  Estonia 3 1 0 2 4 11 0.36 2
4  Finland 3 0 0 3 0 7 0.00 0





Germany and Sweden qualified.

Group 2[edit]

Rank Team Pld W D L GF GA GAv Pts
1  Norway 2 1 1 0 6 5 1.20 3
2  Irish Free State 2 0 1 1 5 6 0.83 1

Norway qualified.

Group 3[edit]

Rank Team Pld W D L GF GA GAv Pts
1  Poland 2 1 0 1 4 1 4.00 2
2  Yugoslavia 2 1 0 1 1 4 0.25 2

Poland finished above Yugoslavia on goal average, and thus qualified.

Group 4[edit]

Egypt were to play Romania in December 1937 however Egypt refused to play Romania during the Ramadan month, Egyptian officials had argued it was "impossible" to play football during that time period. Egyptian officials went on to invite Austrian club side First Vienna FC to Egypt to participate in a friendly game against the national team during the holy month. As a result, Egypt were withdrawn from the competition by FIFA, so Romania qualified automatically.[1]

Group 5[edit]

Rank Team Pld W D L GF GA GAv Pts
1  Switzerland 1 1 0 0 2 1 2.00 2
2  Portugal 1 0 0 1 1 2 0.50 0

Switzerland qualified.

Group 6[edit]

First round[edit]

Rank Team Pld W D L GF GA GAv Pts
1  Greece 2 2 0 0 4 1 4.00 4
2  Palestine, British Mandate 2 0 0 2 1 4 0.25 0

Greece qualified for the final round.

Final round[edit]

Rank Team Pld W D L GF GA GAv Pts
1  Hungary 1 1 0 0 11 1 11.0 2
2  Greece 1 0 0 1 1 11 0.09 0

Hungary qualified.

Group 7[edit]

Rank Team Pld W D L GF GA GAv Pts
1  Czechoslovakia 2 1 1 0 7 1 7.00 3
2  Bulgaria 2 0 1 1 1 7 0.14 1

Czechoslovakia qualified.

Group 8[edit]

First round[edit]

Rank Team Pld W D L GF GA GAv Pts
1  Latvia 2 2 0 0 9 3 3.00 4
2  Lithuania 2 0 0 2 3 9 0.33 0

Latvia qualified for the final round.

Final round[edit]

Rank Team Pld W D L GF GA GAv Pts
1  Austria 1 1 0 0 2 1 2.00 2
2  Latvia 1 0 0 1 1 2 0.50 0

Austria qualified, but was later incorporated by Germany during the Anschluss. FIFA offered the place to England, who had opted not to enter the competition, but they declined the offer; FIFA decided not to allow anyone else to qualify, leaving the World Cup one team short.

Group 9[edit]

Pos. Team Pld W D L GF GA GAv Pts
1  Netherlands 2 1 1 0 5 1 5.00 3
2  Belgium 2 1 1 0 4 3 1.33 3
3  Luxembourg 2 0 0 2 2 7 0.29 0


Netherlands and Belgium qualified.

Group 10[edit]

Argentina withdrew, so Brazil qualified automatically.

Group 11[edit]

Colombia, Costa Rica, Dutch Guiana, El Salvador, Mexico, and the United States all withdrew, so Cuba qualified automatically.

Group 12[edit]

Japan withdrew, so Dutch East Indies qualified automatically.

Qualified teams[edit]

FIFA World Cup qualification 1938
Qualifying countries
Team Finals Appearance Streak Last Appearance
 Austria 2nd 2 1934
 Belgium 3rd 3 1934
 Brazil 3rd 3 1934
 Cuba 1st 1
 Czechoslovakia 2nd 2 1934
 Dutch East Indies 1st 1
 France (h) 3rd 3 1934
 Germany 2nd 2 1934
 Hungary 2nd 2 1934
 Italy (c) 2nd 2 1934
 Netherlands 2nd 2 1934
 Norway 1st 1
 Poland 1st 1
 Romania 3rd 3 1934
 Sweden 2nd 2 1934
 Switzerland 2nd 2 1934
  •  Austria withdrew after qualifying.
  • (h) - qualified automatically as hosts
  • (c) - qualified automatically as defending champions

Notes[edit]

  • It was originally intended that the World Cup would be held alternately between the continents of South America and Europe. However Jules Rimet, the creator of the World Cup, convinced FIFA to hold the competition in France,[citation needed] his home country. Because of this controversy, many American countries, including Argentina (the most likely hosts if the event was held in South America), Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Mexico, Dutch Guiana, Uruguay, and the United States all withdrew or refused to enter.[citation needed]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Dietschy, Paul (6 June 2013). "Making football global? FIFA, Europe, and the non-European football world, 1912–74". Journal of Global History 8 (02): 288. doi:10.1017/S1740022813000223. 

External links[edit]