Delaunay's dream: A World Football Timeline

Delaunay's dream
A World Football Timeline


Henri Delaunay, who lived from 13th of June 1883 to November 9th 1955, is a relatively forgotten figure in the World of Football. And Perhaps for a good reason. He was a player, and later a referee, but not a manager. However, Henri was also a part of the French Football Federation. He was an administrator of the CFI since 1905, and later a secretary-general of the Football Federation from 1919 onwards. During his tenure, Football progressed from a sport that was played by amateurs in the Olympics, up until the fulfillment of Jules Rimet's dream of a world football competiton. But, Delaunay had a different dream. In 1927, amidst talks of Football breaking out of the Olympic Games, Henri Delaunay proposed for there to be a European Football Championship as well, with France hosting a tournament that would decide the finest Footballing team of the continent.

At first, there was hope that Delaunay's dream of such a competition would already take place already by 1928, but the Olympic Games were still a priority, and shortly after, in 1930, the deal was set for Uruguay to host the first World Championship of Football, with the finals taking place in the temple of Football in Montevideo. However, due to the Great Depression, there were immediately doubts of such a competition taking place, due to the expenses of travelling that would take place. Most notably, Jules Rimet had to persuade the Football Associations of Belgium, Romania, Yugoslavia and France to cross the pond and enter the event. Already, without a single ball being kicked, the World Cup was quastioned for its adequacy and financial gain, or in this case, loss. With just two months before the 1930 World Cup taking place, a meeting took place within the French Football Federation, once again discussing the proposal of a European Championship. With the costs of a World Cup being brought up, Delaunay argued for a much less costly competition taking place, this time in 1932, in response to the 1932 Olympic Games in Los Angeles not holding a Football tournament. Finally, on the 11th hour, it was decided that two years after the Inaugural World Nations Cup - the first European Nations Cup would take place in France.

However, for now, Delaunay would have to wait as the World Cup of Football, the first of its kind, would take place in Montevideo.
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Greetings and welcome to Delaunay's Dream, my first attempt at a World Cup timeline, and one that will hopefully stick. This timeline will take a look at what would have been had Delaunay's initial attempts at a Euro Cup from the late 20s and early 1930s were actually successful, with the Frenchman living to see the competition grow. Along the way, the World Cup in itself will be another large focus, although I am also thinking of including other continental championships. Along with a Euro taking place in 1932, another initial change here is that the teams that originally withdrew from the 1930 World Cup will appear in this iteration, meaning that the Inaugural World Cup will take place in a 16 team tournament format, much like in the Olympics and the early World Cup in OTL.

And so, here are the upcoming matches for the 1930 World Cup:

Yugoslavia v Bolivia
Brazil v Egypt
Uruguay (H) v Siam
Romania v Peru
United States v Japan
Paraguay v Belgium
France v Chile
Argentina v Mexico
Yeah, going to be watching this one, and now for the predictions:

Yugoslavia x Bolivia
Brazil x Egypt - if things over here still go as in OTL, Brazil still took only the Rio de Janeiro players to Montevideo, don't even have the best team they could scrounge up under these circumstances, and are about to go up against a Egypt that OTL gave Hungary quite the challenge four years later.
Uruguay x Siam - Siam only has ever played only one match before this one (or none), and then has to go and face the Olympic bichampions right away.
Romania x Peru
United States x Japan - it's also a incognita, but Japan just played the Far Eastern Championship Games in late May and the trip to Uruguay is bound to be long...
Paraguay x Belgium
France x Chile
x Mexico
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This would be interesting! in addition, in OTL the teams were divided in groups because the idea was to make that every team had more than one match, to justify the long trip. In 1934 and 1938 it wasn't that way because of the eurocentrism, so in this TL the matches would be all about direct elimination?
This would be interesting! in addition, in OTL the teams were divided in groups because the idea was to make that every team had more than one match, to justify the long trip. In 1934 and 1938 it wasn't that way because of the eurocentrism, so in this TL the matches would be all about direct elimination?
Indeed, and the group stage idea will become a thing a bit later because of that.
1930 World Cup: Knockout Stage
1930 World Cup
"Montevideo, God Bless You!"

In what was to become the first international World Championship of football, 16 nations embarked to the Uruguayan capital city of Montevideo for the inaugural tournament. While the European nations were probably more than unwilling to be here, someone had to represent the continent where the modern game originated. Elsewhere, Egypt came into the competition with a relatively skilled squad that achieved some respectable results in the Olympics two years prior, while Asia would have to lie its hopes on Japan and Siam, of which the latter had only played one international game before this competition [1]. Nonetheless, Uruguay were surely the overwhelming favourites to win the competition. Not only were they playing at home, but they were simply unbeatable in the Olympics that took place before the World Cup.

The round of 16 saw some expected results, like Uruguay's thrashing of Siam and the United States making quick work out of Japan, but the surprises were still there. France, the country that had practically proposed the idea of a World Cup of Football was shockingly knocked out by Chile, while Egypt managed to win against a Rio de Janeiro dominated side from Brazil courtesy to Mokhtar El Tetsh scoring three goals in the two matches combined. In the end, it was a less than desirable debut for Brazil. The match of the tournament however, was surely Argentina's match against Mexico. The Albiceleste faced off against the North American side in what became a 9 goal thriller, but one that Argentina decisively won thanks to hattricks by Stabile and Zumelzu, but Mexico did make history when Manuel Rosas scored the first ever penalty. The youngest squad in the tournament, Yugoslavia, managed a rather convincing 4-0 win against Bolivia, and the Blues had even become a rather popular team in Montevideo, earning the nickname "Los Ichachos" by the fans.

The moment when Guillermo Stabile scored against Mexico

The Quarter-finals didn't dissapoint with the high-scoring games. Not at all. Uruguay continued their fine form when they walked all over Romania, capping off a 4-0 win against the Tricolores, who could at least be happy with their win against Peru in the previous match, while Egypt's little tale ended when Yugoslavia managed to pull off a squaky win when 20-year old Tirke Tirnanić scored in the 21st minute, thus helping the Blues enter the semis after they managed to hold off every attack done by the Egyptians. Although, perhaps they were lucky that the Egyptian team was still rather tired after their rematch with Brazil. Argentina also routinely beat Chile, with Stabile once again being one of the heroes of the match along with Mario Evaristo. Finally, the United States were able to squash Paraguay to earn their first entry in the semi-finals, after Fall River's own Bert Patenaude scored the country's first ever Hattrick.

Bert Patenaude's day of days

Despite the gallant efforts done by Yugoslavia and America, there was simply no contest when the two countries ran into the favourites of the tournament. Indeed, both Uruguay and Argentina demolished their opposition, with an indentical score of 6-1, thus setting up an all-south American final. Although Argentina did lead 2-1 by the first halftime, but Uruguay's deadly attack came into life with Jose Cea and El Canario scored in less than 23 minutes, before the "One-Armed" Augustin Castro scored a 89th minute to finally have Uruguay win the first ever World Cup.

Fans invade the pitch as Uruguay are declared winners

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And so, Uruguay (Rather predictably) become our first ever World Cup winners, while Yugoslavia scores their first ever piece of silverware. With Jules Rimet's gamble paying off, thanks to the 98 thousand fans being present for the Final and the stadiums being filled in general for every game Uruguay and Argentina played, it is likely expected that another World Cup will take place in four years. However, now it was Delaunay's turn, and in two years, the inaugural European Nations Cup will take place in where else but France.

[1] - Big thanks to Mildryth for giving me insight for some of the teams!

Curiously I recently contemplated a somewhat similar scenario, but if the Great Depression never happened so more European teams played at the inaugural World Cup, which would remove the subsequent South American boycott, etc.

Curiously I recently contemplated a somewhat similar scenario, but if the Great Depression never happened so more European teams played at the inaugural World Cup, which would remove the subsequent South American boycott, etc.
Perhaps if that happened, then maybe Nazis wouldn't even come to power. But now I am just speculating. Anyways, I'm glad you enjoyed the first tournament! 😃
Cheers to Euro '32
1932 Euro Introduction
1932 European Nations' Cup
"See you in Paris"
Following the success of the 1930 World Cup, which had been an idea by Jules Rimet, his colleague Delaunay was now set to wait for the next two years for the supposed European Competition to take place. In the meantime, the news about the 1932 Olympics not hosting a football tournament of their own further encouraged the board at the French Football Federation that the future of football lied in professionalism and games taking place outside confines of the Olympics.

The question of who would host the inaugural European Cup did raise a couple of eyebrows though. The original plan was for the tournament to take place in Switzerland, right in front of FIFA as a supposed show of what the European Nations could do in response to Uruguay's success. However, those plans fell apart when it was decided that the Inaugural Nations Cup would take place in Geneva on July! The Nations Cup was a club tournament, and it was set to host the champions of Europe playing against each other. All of a sudden, Delaunay's dream seemed to be falling apart. That is, until an agreement was settled for France to host the tournament in Paris. It would only make sense after all, and Jules Rimet himself considered this a good solution for his home nation to host a prestigious tournament.

With France chosen as hosts in late 1931, it was apparent that the only way this tournament would take place was going to be by inviting other nations, a stunt the Uruguayan organisers had used only a year ago. Invitations came from all directions. First, there was a proposal to the English FA if the champions of the Home Nations Championship could participate, but it was quickly laughed off. Charles Sudtliffe, a member of the FA himself claimed that "the national associations of England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland have quite enough to do in their own International Championship which seems to me a far better European Championship than the one to be staged in Paris".

With that, Delaunay and the FFF turned their sights to the east, where they invited the champions of the Central European Cup - Italy. The Azzurri had previously won the competition back in its first iteration in 1930, and the ongoing season was seeing the Italians fighting with the Austrian team for the trophy. With that, there was a compromise reached. Italy would be invited as the champions of the inagural iteration of the tournament, while the champion of the 1931-32 iteration would get to play in Paris. This did cause problems though, as the initial schedule meant the Central European Cup would finish in August, and now it had to finish before mid-July. In the end, the football federations agreed, and finally - the third nation to be invited was Spain, as the Reds were seen as one of the finest sides in Europe, and they followed up on that prestige by being the first nation to beat England back in 1929.

Of course, questions were immediately brought up over the fact that out of all the regional champions, only the ones of Central Europe were chosen. The Baltic, Nordic and Balkans were all having their own competitions taking place, and protests were launched by several Football Federations, questioning the legitimacy of the European Championship. However, Delaunay's response only added more fuel to the fire, as he remarked how such nations did not have the excellance to participate in such a competition, despite the fact France was knocked out in the round of 16 in the World Cup, and Yugoslavia achieved bronze in that competition. Perhaps most embarassingly, Yugoslavia and Romania both played against France in June of 1932, and they won against Les Bleus, with Romania especially thrashing the French by winning 6-3. Practically all of the conditions for the tournament to be a disaster were here, from the clear favourisation of west-European teams, to the arrogance of the oranisers. Perhaps the only saving grace now would be if the tournament was entertaining.

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Upcoming matches:
France v Austria
Italy v Spain

How will the other European federations respond especially if this isn't a good tournament will be very interesting
1932 Euro: Knockout Stage
1932 European nations' cup
"A rocky start"
The inaugural Euro, despite the numerous amount of setbacks was finally here, with the tournament taking place in Paris. By now, a year had passed since the controversy over the favourisation of the Western European teams, and some had forgotten, but not all. Either way, the opening match in Stade Yves-du-Manoir, which was in itself practically France's national stadium back then saw the hosts line up with the Wunderteam, led by Hugo Meisl. The sold out stadium was booming with French pride, as Les Bleus set out to prove to Europe that they truly are the worthy hosts of Europe's first international tournament! The first half saw chances from both teams, but no goals in sight, but Austria came into the 2nd half with a mission, and Matthias Sindelar started the avalanche that soon led to Karl Zischek, Franz Weselik and Adi Vogl scoring, thus demolishing the French team with a 4-0 win. Just like that, the French had once again exited a tournament goalless and with a tail between their legs, while Austria's Wunderteam had cemented their absolute quality.

The Austrian Wunderteam shortly before the match

On the other side of Paris, and on a much emptier Parc des Princes, Italy met with Spain for what would mark the start of a rather vicious football rivalry. The game was full of vicious tackling and foul play by both sides, combined with poor refereeing. Ricardo Zamora was especially unlucky as he had to take in the heaviest tackles by the Italians, but Spain was able to lead 1-0 until Italy equalised. The replay, which took place a day after, saw an equally brutal game take place, but one in which Italy prevailed thanks to Giuseppe Meazza and the fact Spain had to play without Zamora. With that, Italy had controversially placed themselves in the final of the cup. [1]

The scenes from the Italy-Spain match

The final match would take place three days after that vicious game between Spain and Italy, with the exhausted Azzurri playing against the confident Austrians. The Italians did put up a good effort, with Giovanni Ferrari scoring the first goal, but Austria replied at the dying minutes, and the match entered extra time. From then on, the final only got more physical as Italy began to rely more and more on hard tackles to try and prevent the Whites from scoring, but no-one was going to stop Sindelar from flicking the ball into the net amidst a seemingly failed corner kick that was done by Schall. Gianpiero Combi couldn't stretch himself enough to stop the ball, and Austria ended up leading 2-1 with 10 minutes to go. Italy had no replies, and so - Austria was declared the first European champion. [2]

The moment Austria scored the match-winning goal

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And with that, the first Euro was over, while France had something to celebrate for as they managed to win against an exhausted Spanish side that was anything but ready for the cup. Perhaps embarassingly though, the 48,000 capacity Stade Yves-du-Manoir only had 15 thousand people present for the final, while Parc des Princes had even less. Just as some feared, the inaugural European Championship was not as successful as Denaulay hoped, and some members of the FFF quickly pointed fingers at him for the rather minute scale of this supposedly prestigious tournament, while other federations blamed the format that only featured four teams. For now, there are doubts if a new European Nations Cup would take place in the near future, but there was no time for that, as the federations prepared for the qualifiers of the 1934 World Cup.

Hugo Meisl and his team as they take the train for Vienna

[1] - Props to Mildryth, Hawkaussie, MatthewFirth and NTF aka Seb for nailing the predictions!
[2] - The match between Spain and Italy is practically the same as the one that occurs in 1934
1934 World Cup: Introduction
1934 World Cup
"Swedish lobbying"
Delaunay's rather dissapointing European Championship was quickly brushed aside by FIFA, who prefered to focus on their darling child known as the World Cup. Jules Rimet was content with the outcome of the previous tournament in Montevideo, especially since the stadium was filled for the final game as opposed to the Euro. Nonetheless, the question of who would host the following World Cup for 1934 proved to be a difficult one. Seeing how the 1930 iteration was held in South America, it would only make sense for this one to be set in Europe, and two options quickly emerged. On one hand, there was Sweden, and the other side was Italy, where Benito Mussolini himself was targeting this cup as a way to promote fascism and il Duce. Big promises were made, with the Italians promising to spend up to 3.5 million Lire, and the tournament was surely going to be a lot more packed as opposed to Sweden's small venues. However, the Swedish members of FIFA immediately started their own little plan, and it was by making a deal with Italy's representatives, along with speaking to the rest of FIFA. With a big budget like Italy's, perhaps the 1936 iteration of the European Championship would take place, but under the condition of the tournament expanding its format to feature more teams. The four team fiasco of 1932 was already quite controversial, and after a heated discussion, the Italians accepted the offer in exchange of Sweden hosting the World Cup. In the end, half of the 9 stadiums that were ultimately going to be used for the tournament were built from scratch, with the Rasunda stadium in particular being quite a big thing.

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However, controversy soon occured when the qualifying format for the World Cup was presented. Much to the outrage of the South Americans and the Asian teams - Europe had a whopping 8 groups, and the groups of three teams were even promised to let in two countries in the tournament. In a blatant show of Eurocentrism, it was clear that now only four non-european nations would get to play in this supposed "World" Cup, and many even joked that this tournament would resemble more of a Euro than the actual Euro, seeing with how many teams showed up from the said continent. Plenty of teams withdrew, and defending champions Uruguay made it clear that they would not show up for the competition following the small number of European teams showing up in Montevideo. Nevertheless, it was clear that these competitions would need some serious polishing for them to actually function like in the Olympics, which by themselves for now seemed like a better choice when it came to football. Good luck, Sweden, and good luck, FIFA.
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Changes in this timeline:
1. As opposed to the OTL, Sweden gets to host the World Cup in 1934, which in return makes Italy's little propaganda move of our timeline much less effective, and will seriously affect the future hosts of this timeline.

Upcoming matches:
Italy v United States
Spain v Brazil
Austria v France
Hungary v Egypt
Czechoslovakia v Romania
Switzerland v Netherlands
Germany v Belgium
Sweden v Argentina
Italy x United States
Spain x Brazil
Austria x France
Hungary x Egypt
Czechoslovakia x Romania
Switzerland x Netherlands - there's a chance they can make it - OTL, the Dutch tied their match against Switzerland in the last minute, but the referee blew the final whistle just before the ball went in. If the TTL referee is less rigorous, that match can go to extra time and who knows what'll happen from there.
Germany x Belgium
Sweden x Argentina - Probably a larger win than OTL, given Sweden's got the home factor going for them and Argentina is playing with a amateur squad because the professionals broke away to form their own league...
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Italy x United States
Spain x Brazil
Austria x France
Hungary x Egypt
Czechoslovakia x Romania
Switzerland x Netherlands - there's a chance they can make it - OTL, the Dutch tied their match against Switzerland in the last minute, but the referee blew the final whistle just before the ball went in. If the TTL referee is less rigorous, that match can go to extra time and who knows what'll happen from there.
Germany x Belgium
Sweden x Argentina - Probably a larger win than OTL, given Sweden's got the home factor going for them and Argentina is playing with a amateur squad because the professionals broke away to form their own league...
Yeah, I also need to apologise for this one being pretty predictable. I originally did want to feature Uruguay, but it wouldn't make sense for them to show up since this TL's 1930 WC still had minimal number of European teams
1934 World Cup: Knockout stage
1934 World Cup
"A chip of a lifetime"

Round of 16

Opening in the Rasunda stadium, the 1934 World Cup started with Sweden playing against the 1930 runners-up. Despite Argentina making a phenomenal campaign in the previous tournament, the Albiceleste only brought an amateur squad to Sweden, and the Blagult made sure to completely stomp on the Argentines. A hattrick by Sven Jonasson followed after Ernesto Belis at first brought Argentina 1-0 via a magnificent free-kick, but the better-organised Swedes dismantled the Argentines in what was a highly entertaining match for the 37 thousand present fans. A similiar dismantling occured in the Olympia stadium at Helsingborg, where the superior Italian national squad comfortably won against the United States, with Angelo Schiavio scoring three splendid goals for the Azzurri. Only Chicago's Aldo Donelli could be considered as the Stars and Stripes' best player, while goalkeeper Julius Hyulian somehow managed to prevent a total disaster by defending several great chances by the Itailans. The debutants also played well, as all of them (Except for the Netherlands) managed to win their first official match at the World Cup. Germany, Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Switzerland all won their matches, with the Swiss having a relatively difficult time against the Dutch, but a header by Switzerland's captain Severino Minelli at the 109th minute of the match meant that the Nati just narrowly won, thus helping Switzerland record the first ever win in extra time at the World Cup. Egypt gave Hungary a run for its money in a 7-goal match, but the main sensation came when Spain outclassed the Brazilians. La Canarinha, who brought an entirely different squad compared to the 1930 tournament, were no match to the Spanish.

A moment from the Sweden-Argentina match

The hosts continued their form, as Sweden managed to pull off a dramatic win over Germany in the dying minutes of the match, when Knutte Kroon scored the goal for 3-2, thus sending Sweden to the Semi-finals of the World Cup. The Swedes have truly shown that they were a force to be reckoned with, and the same result occured in Orebro, when Czechoslovakia held off Switzerland. Oldrich Nejedly managed to bring the Velvets 3-2 over the Swiss, even though the latter controlled the game for most of the second half. It was a well-balanced game, but one in which tactics prevailed. Austria, having at first beaten France once more, met with Hungary in what was a highly physical game, but the Austrians narrowly won after Hungary lost Imre Markos and Istvan Avar. However, that match wasn't even close in its brutality as what soon became known as the "Battle of Norrkoping". Following their match in the 1932 European Cup, Italy once again met with Spain, who had a bone to pick with them. In another highly contentious match, both sides once again did nasty tackles against each other, and football had seemingly taken a backseat in favour of a brawl. However, Spain managed to turn the game around for the 2nd halftime, even if la Roja had to play with 10 men. Beaten, battered, but not defeated. That's what the Spanish press claimed the very next day, as the Spanish finally managed to have their revenge on Italy.

The scenes from the Spain - Italy match

Spain's win against Italy proved costly, since the team was exhausted from the match, but so were the Austrians. In what ended up as the most entertaining match of the Cup - Austria and Spain exchanged 9 goals. Matthias Sindelar, Campanal and Josef Bican scored hat tricks, in a game marred by tactical mistakes by both teams. However, Hugo Meisl's boys managed to prevail when in the 87th minute - Josef Bican scored his third goal of the game, thus helping Austria win their match. By now though, the Austrians were entirely exhausted, and they would now have to wait and see who they will play against in the final. The second game of the semis took place only two hours later, in Helsingborg. The hosts were now meeting Czechoslovakia. Despite the Blagult scoring first, the Czechs quickly replied with goals by Oldrich Nejedly, who played his greatest individual match in the tournament to score three goals. Sweden's dreams of a final were crushed, but they still had a chance to take third place against an exhausted Spanish side.

The scenes from the eventful Austria - Spain match

Third place play-off
Despite Spain's greatest efforts, and the return of Ricardo Zamora as the teams' goalkeeper, Spain was not able to win their match against Josef Nagy's Sweden, which with the help of Jonasson managed to take third place.

Sweden's team before the third place match

As the 35 thousand men, women and children rolled up in the Rasunda Stadium in Solna, the stage was set for what would be a true spectacle. Two of the countries that hosted the greatest clubs in Europe were now going toe to toe in a World Cup final. Hugo Meisl's Wunderteam against Karel Petru's Czechoslovakia. The match started well for both, as the two sides had plenty of chances, before Antonin Puč scored 1-0 for Czechoslovakia at the 71st minute. The Velvets held this lead from then on, as Czechoslovakia blocked every chance by the Wunderteam, and the match seemed to be over. But, Josef Bican replied after 10 minutes, with a powerful kick that had the ball fly its way past František Planička. 1-1 in the 81st minute, and the match soon enough reached extra time. Only five minutes passed before Hans Horvath surprised the Czechoslovaks to lead Austria to 2-1. The match was now flipped on its head, but Oldrich Nejedly then replied after only two minutes to score his 6th goal of the tournament. 2-2, and there were still 23 minutes of football to be played. As the match reached the 110th minute, the temperatures began to fall as the sun started to set, plumeting to 12 degrees celsius. With just three minutes to go, both teams were at a stalemate. Out of desperation, Jiri Sobotka found himself in the midst of the penalty area, took control of the ball and chipped it past Peter Platzer to score 3-2, sending the entirety of the Bohemian team into delirium! That chip in the end was enough, as Austria's players could not find a way past Czechoslovakia's stubborn defense, and Hugo Meisl tossed his hat on the ground as Ivan Eklind blew the whistle, signalling that the match was officially over. In a phenomenal finale, Czechoslovakia were crowned the champions of the world.

Oldrich Nejedly moments from scoring the first goal of the match

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Changes in this timeline:
1. With Sweden as hosts, the home advantage helps them reach 3rd place
2. Spain, having already lost to Italy in the Euros makes it their mission to beat the Italians, which they miraculously do
3. The final sees a close fight between Czechoslovakia and Austria. Both teams were highly rated during the mid 30s, but I reckon Czechoslovakia would've just abrely won because they wouldn't have as difficult opponents before the final, thus their players likely wouldn't have been as exhausted as the Austrians.

Following the World Cup, which in itself proved to be a highly successful event once again, the news soon came of Football returning to the 1936 Olympics, to the outrage of Delaunay. The Frenchman at first tried to have the Euro take place on June 1936, with a proposal for reigning champions Austria to host the competition, but the memories of the 1932 fiasco were still fresh in everyone's minds, and even when Hugo Meisl did propose an extended format that would hold 16 teams, Delaunay declined such a thought. Thus, no European Championship would be held in 1936. Football would have to wait until 1938, when the game flies from Solna to Buenos Aires. Adios.
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