Bologna’s rich early-1900s history isn’t the only thing that caught me off-guard this week. Not only have the Rossoblu scooped seven Scudetti since 1909, but they’ve also provided the Azzurri with a healthy number of international champions.
1934 World Cup
FIFA’s second World Cup took place in Italy in 1934, and comprised of 16 teams competing against each other in a straight knock-out competition. Mussolini’s government looked to use the even as a means of propaganda for their fascist message, but that didn’t deter travelling fans. The 1934 World Cup broke all kinds of international sporting travel records, with an estimated 7,000 fans travelling from the Netherlands and a further 10,000 from Austria and Switzerland.
The Azzurri’s tournament kicked-off on May 27th. Italy opened with a 7-1 battering of the USA at Rome’s Stadio Nazionale, with prolific Bologna forward playing a leading role. Staring alongside the likes of Giuseppe Meazza in a five-man attack, Schiavio struck a sweet hat-trick to put Italy well on their way to a convincing victory.
Spain, who’d just eliminated Brazil, awaited Italy in the quarterfinals. The Azzurri fell behind after 30 minutes, but Giovanni Ferrari’s 44th-minute strike levelled it on the stroke of half-time. Schiavio started again but couldn’t find a winning goal for Italy, and the goal headed for a second leg after finishing 1-1 AET.
Schiavio wasn’t the only Bologna player to feature in this game. Defender Eraldo Monzeglio came into the XI for the first leg, and also started in the following day’s return fixtures. This time a Schiavio-less Italy grafted to a 1-0 victory, securing a semi-final showdown with Austria (who’d already eliminated France and a pre-Puskas Hungary).
It was always going to be a tight affair with a place in the final on the line, but Italy didn’t disappoint their home fans. A single Enrique Guaita goal was all it took to secure victory at the San Siro. Schiavio and Monzeglio both played as Italy reached the final, and were called-on for the final seven days later.
Italy and Czechoslovakia went in 0-0 at half time. Czechoslovakia’s Antonin Puc broke the deadlock in the 74th minute but the Azzurri, fearful of tasting defeat on home soil, summoned some of their legendary grinta and rallied. Raimundo Orsi equalised to send the match into extra-time just seven minutes later, and who popped-up when Italy needed a hero? Angelo Schiavio.
Schiavio’s 95th-minute strike effectively won Italy the 1934 World Cup, and he finished as their top scorer with four goals. This was to be Schiavio’s last game in an Azzurri shirt, and he retired shortly after the World Cup having notched 15 goals in 21 caps. A quick, purposeful dribbling with tremendous skill and a wicked strike, Schiavio will not only be remembered as Bologna’s greatest goalscorer, but also the man whose goals won Italy’s first World Cup.
Morzeglio started in four of Italy’s five games at the tournament. While his team-mate Schiavio grabbed the headlines with his match-winning goal in the final, Morzeglio played a big role in keeping the Czechoslovakian’s Golden Boot-winning striker Oldrich Nejedly at bay. A clever ball-playing defender, Morzeglio was a capable defender who also acted as the Azzurri’s quarterback with pinpoint passes from deep positions.
1938 World Cup
The Azzurri took three Bologna players to France in 1938. Goalkeeper Carlo Ceresoli, midfielder Amedeo Biavati and Michele Andreolo, the nationalised Uruguayan, made the cut with only the latter starting in Italy’s opening fixture.
Italy faced Norway in Marseille on June 5th, with Pietro Ferraris and Silvio Piola providing the goals in a 2-1 win for Italy. Biavati joined Andreolo in the XI for the quarterfinal showdown with France on June 12th and Italy’s winning ways continued. An even first half saw the scores level (1-1) at half-time, but two Piola goals saw the reigning champions ease through to the next round.
Both Rossoblu outfielders started as Italy met Brazil in the next round. An 87th-minute Romeu goal gave Italy a late scare, but they rarely looked like losing and ran-out 2-1 winners thanks to Gino Colaussi’s 55th-minute strike and a Giuseppe Meazza penalty.
The Azzurri played in their second consecutive World Cup final on June 19th, and it turned out to be one of the most exciting games of the era. Hungary’s Pal Titkos immediately cancelled out Colaussi’s opener after eight minutes, but Piola soon restored the advantage and Italy were 2-1 up after just 16 minutes.
Colaussi completed his brace to put Italy 3-1 up at half time, but Hungary continued to threaten. Gyorgy Sarosi pulled one back on 70 minutes, but Silvio Piola, the quiet assassin, broke Hungarian hearts with a decisive 82nd minute goal. Andreolo and Biavata started as Italy won their second World Cup in a row by defeating an improving Hungary side 4-2. Bologna had once again provided the Italian national side with two of its World Cup-winners.
Gathering details on Andreolo has been difficult, but I know that, for Italy at least, he played as a defensive midfielder in the W-M formation. Andreolo made 165 appearances in a seven-year Bologna career, scoring 24 goals.
Biavata played as one of the W-M’s support strikers and was a key player for Bologna in the 30s and 40s. He was a quick-footed forward whose feints and tricky feet made him difficult to play against, and he specialised at drifting into wide areas. On the peninsula he is regarded as the father of the double-step dribbling technique, and he amassed 18 Azzurri appearances throughout his career.
Ceresoli failed to appear for Italy at the 1938 World Cup and had a shorter Bologna career than most, making 79 appearances in three seasons. He won two Italian Championships with Bologna, but a broken arm prevented him from appearing in the World Cup. Nonetheless, Ceresoli collected a winner’s medal.
Eraldo Monzeglio, a Roma player at this point, was also part of the squad.
1968 European Championships
A few notes on Giacomo Bulgarelli and Aristide Guarneri, who, as Bologna players, claimed Euro 1968 winners’ medals with Italy. Neither played during the tournament, but both deserve mentioning for their presence in the squad.
Guarneri played just a single season with Bologna (1967-68). He was as graceful as a defender can be, having never been sent-off in his 16-year career, and was a key play for Helenio Herrera’s Grande Inter in the 1960s. Guarneri made 28 Rossoblu appearances towards the end of his career.
Bulgarelli is widely regarded as Bologna’s greatest ever player. A one-club man, Bulagrelli won an Italian Championship, two Coppa Italias and a Mitropa Cup during a 16-year career. Bulgarelli’s 392 league games make him Bologna’s all-time appearance leader and a hugely popular figure in Rossoblu folklore. “Jack” famously turned AC Milan down at his peak, and he notched 29 Azzurri caps before retiring in 1975.
- World Cup 1934 finals – RSSSF.
- World Cup 1938 finals – RSSSF.
- European Championship 1968 – RSSSF.