Because of the growing professional influence and of the presence of a World Cup, there were difficulties defining what an amateur was. With no solution at the time, the International Olympic Committee decided not to include football at the 1932 Summer Games in Los Angeles. But the sport returned as strong as ever in Germany in 1936 because organizers needed the money generated by football.
There might have been times, however, when the organizers might have had second thoughts because of several unruly incidents. In Italy's 1-0 victory over the United States, for instance, two American players were injured when the referee ordered Achille Piccini of Italy off the field. The player refused. Several teammates surrounded the official and covered his mouth with their hands. Piccini, for some reason, remained in the game.
That turned out to be the warm-up for the quarter-final confrontation between Peru and Austria. Peru rallied from a two-goal deficit in the final 15 minutes of normal time. During extra-time, Peruvian fans ran onto the field and attacked an Austrian player. In the chaos, Peru scored twice and won, 4-2.
Or so the South Americans thought. Austria protested and the International Olympic Committee ordered a replay without any spectators. Peru refused and their entire Olympic squad left in protest as did Colombia.
Austria eventually earned the right to face Italy in the final. The Italians, coached by Vittorio Pozzo, were in the middle of one of the greatest runs in international football history, having won the World Cup in 1934(and were to do so again in 1938). After dispatching the U.S., Italy romped past Japan, 8-0, in the quarter-finals as Annibale Frossi, who wore a headband and glasses, scored three goals and Carlo Biagi four, and edged Norway in the semi-finals, as Frossi had another.
Frossi finished with a tournament-best seven goals, including two in a 2-1 Italian extra-time win for the gold in front of 85,000 spectators at Olympic Stadium.
Norway captured the bronze medal, edging Poland, 3-2, as Arne Brustad found the back of the net three times.