FIFA World Cup 1938
The decision taken in August 1936 to award the 1938 tournament to France rather than Argentina caused outrage in South America where it was believed the competition would alternate between continents. As a result Uruguay and Argentina refused to enter while Spain could not participate because of civil war. Both the hosts and title holders qualified automatically and of the remaining fourteen places, eleven were allocated to Europe, two to the Americas and one to Asia/Africa.
Although Austria qualified, their team withdrew after the March 1938 Anschluss under which Austria was incorporated into the Third Reich. For reasons unknown, the organising committee did not invite Latvia to take their place (they had finished behind Austria in qualifying) and instead left the place vacant.
The tournament was again organised as a simple knock-out competition, with extra-time and replays where necessary.
I am grateful to Glen Isherwood for sharing his research. Please contact me with corrections or additions.