Some argued that Hungary - or at least its goalkeeper - allowed Italy to win, as a measure to save the lives of the Italian Team, which had received telegrams by Benito Mussolini with "Vincere o morire!" (mistranslated as "Win or die") written on them. Hungarian goalkeeper Antal Szabó expressed his relief following his side's defeat against Italy despite letting in four goals in the loss. Referring to Mussolini's pre-match threats, Szabó quipped "I may have let in four goals, but at least I saved their lives". Actually, this is not the case. "Win or die" was a typical slogan of encouragement from fascist era, meaning "Victory or bust!" or "do your best to get victory". The fascist regime held sporting heroes and champions in high regard, greatly using them in their propaganda machine, so an act like the one suggested by Szabó was not realistic. Szabó's words may have been perhaps an honest misunderstanding.
Due to World War II, the World Cup would not be held for another 12 years, until 1950. As a result, Italy were the reigning World Cup holders for a record 16 years, from 1934 to 1950. The Italian Vice-President of FIFA, Dr. Ottorino Barassi, hid the trophy in a shoe-box under his bed throughout the Second World War and thus saved it from falling into the hands of occupying troops.