On this day 27 May 1934 (Exactly 85 years ago) The second edition of the FIFA World Cup commenced in Italy.
It was a tournament on a bigger scale than four years before, with eight host cities compared with one and live radio broadcasts taking the action to listeners in 12 of the competing countries.
After the success of the first FIFA World Cup, there was now a 32-team preliminary round to decide the 16 finalists. In the only instance of its kind, Italy had to qualify for their own tournament by defeating Greece.
Mexico provided another one-off by travelling to the finals but not playing a single game. Although they had initially beaten Cuba to earn a place, a late application by the United States left the unlucky Mexicans facing another qualifier on arrival in Rome and they lost out 4-2.
Uruguay were the most notable omission from the lineup of contenders, having declined to participate in retaliation for Italy’s refusal to travel in 1930 – thereby creating another footnote in the history books as the only holders not to defend their prize.
Relations between South America and Europe were fragile. Still upset by being snubbed four years earlier by the European teams, world champion Uruguay declined to participate, while Brazil and Argentina did not send its best players, choosing instead to field “B” teams. Only four of the 16 nations at the World Cup came from outside Europe.
Unlike four years earlier when all the matches were played in Montevideo, games at the 1934 World Cup were staged in eight cities: Naples, Genoa, Bologna, Milan, Trieste, Florence, Turin and Rome.
The World Cup also sported a new format. There was no opening group stage. Instead, the tournament was a knockout competition from the start: if you lost, you went home.
Games went to extra time in case the teams were tied after 90 minutes, and a replay (another game) if they were tied after 120 minutes. There were no penalty shootouts.
The festivities kicked off on May 27 (exactly 85 years ago today) with all the eight Round of 16 matches played on the same day.
Italy crushed the United States 7-1 in Rome. Hungary defeated Egypt, the first African nation to compete at the World Cup, in Naples. Brazil and Argentina retreated home, 13,000 kilometres across the Atlantic, after losing to Spain and Sweden, respectively.
Full Results of the R16 Matches
Date: 27 May 1934
Rome: Italy. 7-1 United States
Genoa : Spain 3-1 Brazil
Naples : Hungary 4-2 Egypt
Milan : Switzerland 3-1 Netherlands
Trieste :Czechoslovakia 2-1 Romania
Bologna: Sweden 3-2 Argentina
Turin : Austria 3-2 France
Florence : Germany 5-2 Belgium
On this day 27 May 2012(Exactly 7 years ago) A spectacular end to an intriguing season as Asante Kotoko were crowned champions of the Ghana Premier League.
Richard Yeboah’s 59th minute goal secured the Porcupine Warriors a 1-0 victory in their final day fixture of the Ghana Premier League against Tema Youth.
On a day when drama unfolded to determine the relegation sides, Kotoko were celebrating another important title at the Baba Yara Stadium.
Kotoko stretched the lead by 14 points after losing just three games and had the second best defence in the league, conceding 18 goals – second to Aduana, who picked 17 goals from the back of the net.
Maxwell Konadu’s side won 18 times, drew nine games and scored a total of 43 goals, the highest by any club in this season.
On this day 27 May 2009 (Exactly 10 years ago )Manchester United’s attempt to make history and become the first club to defend the Champions League ended in failure against Barcelona in Rome’s Stadio Olimpico.
Manager Sir Alex Ferguson’s hopes of repeating the previous year’s triumph against Chelsea barely got off the ground as they ended well beaten by a Barcelona side inspired by the genius of Argentine superstar Lionel Messi.
United started the final, played in stifling heat, as if retaining their crown would be little more than a formality, creating a host of early chances against the nervous-looking Catalans, with Cristiano Ronaldo a constant threat.
But once Samuel Eto’o scored at Edwin van der Sar’s near post in the 10th minute after escaping Nemanja Vidic, the credits were rolling on their bid to add the Champions League to the Premier League for the second successive season
Barcelona 2-0 Manchester United
Barcelona: Valdes, Puyol, Toure Yaya, Pique, Sylvinho, Xavi, Busquets, Iniesta (Pedrito 90), Messi, Eto’o, Henry (Keita 72).
Subs Not Used: Pinto, Caceres, Muniesa, Gudjohnsen, Bojan.
Man Utd: Van der Sar, O’Shea, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra, Anderson (Tevez 46), Carrick, Giggs (Scholes 75), Park (Berbatov 66), Ronaldo, Rooney.
Subs Not Used: Kuszczak, Rafael Da Silva, Evans, Nani.
Booked: Ronaldo, Scholes, Vidic.
Attendance : 72,700
Ref: Massimo Busacca (Switzerland).
On this day 27 May 1964 (Exactly 55 years ago) Internazionale Milan beat Real Madrid 3-1 at Vienna to win the European Cup with goals from Sandro Mazzola (2) and Aurelio Milani giving them their first European Cup title; Felo scored Real Madrid’s only goal of the game.
On this day 27 May 1965(Exactly 54 years ago) Internazionale Milan beat Benfica 1-0 at Milan to win back -to-back European Cup through Jair’s 43rd minute goal.
On this day 27 May 1981 (Exactly 38 years ago) Liverpool beat Real Madrid 1-0 at Paris for their third European Cup.
At a heaving Parc des Princes, Liverpool carried out Bob Paisley’s instructions to the letter as Alan Kennedy cut in from the left to decide a tense encounter with an 82nd-minute winner.
His strike sealed Liverpool’s third European Cup success in five years during an era in when English clubs ruled Europe
On this day 27 May 1987 (Exactly 31 years ago) FC Porto beat Bayern Munich 2-1 at Vienna for their 1st European Cup.
Both sides were missing key players: the Portuguese were without their injured striker Fernando Gomes, while the Germans were missing their sweeper, and captain, Klaus Augenthaler, who was suspended, along with striker Roland Wohlfarth and midfield player Hans Dorfner, who were both injured.
The Portuguese side fought back from 1–0 down to win their first European Cup, with the goals coming from a back heel by Rabah Madjer and a volley from Juary, after a Ludwig Kögl header had The final was the first European Cup final that Bayern, and their captain Lothar Matthäus would lose to successive late goals, repeated 12 years later in the 1999 UEFA Champions League Final against Manchester United.
On this day 27 May 2017 (Exactly 2 years ago) Arsene Wenger secured his record seventh FA Cup final win as Arsenal produced a magnificent display to win a Wembley thriller against 10-man Chelsea.
Alexis Sanchez gave Arsenal the lead in contentious fashion after only four minutes, when referee Anthony Taylor overruled his assistant after he had flagged for offside against Aaron Ramsey.
The then Premier League champions also claimed Sanchez handled in the build-up. And their task became even harder when Victor Moses was correctly sent off by Taylor in the second half after receiving a second yellow card for diving.
Diego Costa revived Chelsea’s hopes of a repeat of their league and FA Cup double in 2010 when Arsenal keeper David Ospina failed to keep out his deflected shot with 14 minutes left.
Arsenal, outstanding throughout, refused to be denied and were back in front inside three minutes when Ramsey, who scored the FA Cup final winner against Hull City in 2014, did it again with a header from substitute Olivier Giroud’s cross.
STORY: GEORGE MAHAMAH