The 1934 World Cup final between Italy and Czechoslovakia was also a clash between the two greatest goalkeepers of their era. And while Gianpiero Combi ended the match, and his international career, as a world champion, Planicka was arguably the better player of the two.
An outstanding shot stopper, Planicka had also been a courageous and inspirational captain as Czechoslovakia advanced to the final with close wins over Romania, Switzerland and Germany. In the final the Czechs stunned the Roman crowd when Antonin Puc shot past Combi with barely 15 minutes left. But Planicka was helpless as first Raimundo Orsi beat him to equalize and then Angelo Schiavio sealed a 2-1 victory for Italy in extra time.
Four years later in France, Planicka would prove his bravery once again. In the second round the Czechs clashed with Brazil in one of the most brutal games in World Cup history, the "Battle of Bordeaux."
Two Brazilians and one Czech were sent off while several more players from each side were carried off with serious injuries.
Planicka didn't escape and suffered a broken arm in the mayhem, but played through the pain to earn his side a replay after a 1-1 draw. But his injury kept him out of the replay the following day, and Czechoslovakia lost 2-1.