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ON THIS DAY: Italy defends World Cup title in 1938

June 19, 2014

On June 19 in World Cup history: As war looms, Italy retains title against Hungary in Paris in 1938.

Facing deep opposition from the French fans, Italy successfully defended its World Cup crown, beating Hungary 4-2 in the final with two goals apiece from Gino Colaussi and Silvio Piola. The tournament took place amid the drumbeat of war — Spain was not there because of its civil war while Austria had been swallowed up by Nazi Germany. Italy caused controversy in its quarterfinal against the host when it was ordered to wear black. It’s unclear whether the order came from Benito Mussolini himself. Italy would keep the Jules Rimet Trophy for another 12 years as the world descended into war.

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