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By 1938 the shadow of global conflict loomed over the World Cup.
Spain withdrew because of the Civil War, and Austria (a strong team who had been fancied to win the 1934 tournament) didn’t appear because they had been ‘absorbed’ by Germany in the Anschluss of March 1938. Many Austrian players were ‘seconded’ to the German team. The notion of the Ubermensch took a blow when Switzerland defeated Germany in a first round replay.
Uruguay and Argentina boycotted the tournament in protest at it being held in Europe twice in succession.
Dutch East Indies (the country now known as Indonesia) qualified due to the withdrawal of Japan (engaged in a war with China) This proved to entail a journey of over 7,000 miles for one match , as the tournament was still organised on a knockout basis (the last time that this occured),Dutch East Indies were elimimated losing 6-0 to Hungary in Reims.

Spare a thought for Poland’s Ernest Wilimowski, who scored four goals in his only appearance but still ended up on the losing side, Brazil winning 6-5 after extra time.

Italy succesfully defended their title, beating Hungary in the final.
During the 1939-45 war the trophy was removed from a bank in Rome by FIFA Vice-President, Dr. Ottorino Barassi, who hid it in a shoe-box under his bed throughout the hostilities…

The Dutch East Indies

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