How Egyptians followed the 1934 World Cup?

Mahmoud Elassal , Tuesday 12 Jun 2018,
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Egyptian fans
File photo: The first photo for Egypt national team squad after leaving the Egyptian borders, on a ship heading to Italy's Roma to represent country in the international games in the 1934 World Cup, 24 May 1934, (Al-Ahram daily newspaper)

With no television transmission or means of visual communications, Egyptians had to wait for some time to know the result of the national team's game against Hungary in the 1934 World Cup that took place in Italy between 27 May and 10 June.  

"We were very busy yesterday, as our telephone has not allowed us to write a word or complete a full sentence about Egypt's game against Hungary since five o'clock," read the match report on Egypt's oldest newspaper Al-Ahram on 28 May 1934, a day after Egypt lost 4-2 to Hungary on their World Cup debut.  

The match review said "Egyptians had no source from which they could know the game's result except the radio and the next day's newspapers".

The writer, who was based in Cairo, wrote in his report that he received numerous phone calls from fans eager to know how Egypt fared in their first World Cup game.

He wrote that he himself could only know the result from the radio.

"We were pleased that the game's first half ended in a 2-2 draw between the two sides," read the match review.

"The full time result also was also a 2-2 draw and, therefore, the game went to extra time.

"Our satisfaction changed to sadness after the extra time finished with a 4-2 win for Hungary over Egypt," the match report continued.

The two sides' squads:

Egypt:
Starting lineup: Kamel Masoud (GK); Ali Mohammed El Kaf, Mahmoud Moukhtar (C), Mohamed Hassan Helmi, Abdel Sharl, Mostafa Kamel Taha, Hassan El Far, Abdel Rahman Fawzi, Mohamed Latif, Ismail Rafaat, Hassan Raghab)

Substitutes: Aziz Fahmy,  Mostafa Mansour, Hafez Kasseb, Mahmoud Negro, Ibrahim Halim, Hany Kamel

Coach: James McCrae  (Scotland)

Hungary:
Starting lineup: Antal Szabo (GK); Gabor Szabo, Imre Markos, Istvan Palotas, Laszlo Sternberg (C),  Gyula Futo, Gyula Lazar, Gyorgy Szucs, Pal Teleki, Geza Toldi, Jeno Vincze

Substitutes: Janos Dudas; Sandor Biro, Jozsef Vago, Istvan Tamassy, Gyula Polgar, Rezso Somlai, Jozsef Hada, Tibor Kemeny, Gyorgy Sarosi, Istvan Avar, Antal Szalay

Coach: Odon Nadas (Hungary)

The Pharaohs became the first African team to reach the World Cup after beating Palestine 11-2 on aggregate in the tournament's qualifiers.

Egypt hammered Palestine 7-1 in the first leg on 18 March 1934 at the stadium of Cairo club Ahly before crushing them 4-1 in the return leg on 7 April.

"I highly regard the fan attendance in the stadium, especially the big number of females as their appearance in the stadiums is an enough evidence of the sport's development in Egypt," read Al-Ahram's review of Egypt's 7-1 win over Palestine in the 1934 World Cup qualifiers.

The 1934 football World Cup took place between May 27 and June 10, 1934 in eight Italian cities: Bologna, Florence, Genoa, Milan, Naples, Rome, Trieste and Turin.

Thirty-two teams, including the host nation who did not enjoy automatic qualification at the time, entered the qualifiers. Sixteen teams made it through to the World Cup.

Egypt were eliminated at the first round after losing 4-2 to Hungary, while hosts Italy won the trophy after beating Czechoslovakia 2-1 in the final.

Egypt at World Cup 1934
File photo: Egyptian football fans attend the game between Egypt and Palestine in the 1934 World Cup qualifiers at Al-Ahly Club, 17 March 1934, (Al-Ahram daily newspaper)

Egypt at World Cup 1934
File photo: Egypt national football team crew in Cairo before traveling to Italy to participate in the 1934 World Cup, 18 May 1934 (Al-Ahram daily newspaper)

Egypt at World Cup 1934
File photo: The first photo for Egypt national team squad after leaving the Egyptian borders, on a ship heading to Italy's Roma to represent country in the international games in the 1934 World Cup, 24 May 1934, (Al-Ahram daily newspaper)

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)

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