Previously on BrokenTV’s World Cup Waygoose: we explained what a waygoose is, then started out trying to take an earnest look at the history of official World Cup Finals Posters, but ended up with nothing but lies and increasingly hamfisted doctored imagery. And now, BrokenTV’s World Cup Waygoose continues.
1950 – BRAZIL
For the 1950 finals, the winners were universally expected to be host nation Brazil. Indeed, they were expected to win to such a degree, many of their group stage opponents rested their star players for their more winnable matches. Mexico actually fielded a team of mannequins dressed in football jerseys and Mexican hats for their first round match against the Brazilians, succumbing to a four-nil defeat. It might well have been more, but the plastic backline proved to make for a surprisingly effective offside trap. Plus, plastic full-backs are statistically less likely to be bamboozled by stepovers.
The poster continued France 1938’s theme of “not bothering to draw an entire footballer”, this time only bothering to go as far as one leg. Presumably, the remainder of the football is attached to that leg, though we can’t really dismiss the notion that it’s merely a leg attached to a stick. Note the multinational socks, and the use of the Union Flag to represent England, as opposed to the St George’s Cross, which always used to be the case for some strange reason.
And how did Brazil get on? Well, quite famously, they ended up losing in the final to a determined Uruguay team. By the time they’d reached the final, such was the fear they’d instilled into opponents wary of being humiliated, Brazil had mainly found themselves facing teams comprised of shop dummies, farmyard animals and kitchen appliances. By the time they came to face the Uruguayans, the Brazilian side had grown so complacent after so many walks in the park, they were taken by surprise at coming up against eleven animate objects.
1954 – SWITZERLAND
Back to Europe for the 1954 World Cup, and as such a minimalist work was commissioned for the poster artwork. And how rubbish is that goalkeeper? That football is easily twice the size of a beach ball, and he still missed it. Though, to be fair, what with him only having one eye, his depth perception is probably not the best. If anything, it’s surprising he even made the squad.
The increased size of the balls used in the tournament, as seen here, was part of a concerted effort to keep the final scores down. Clearly, it didn’t work; both the quarter-finals and semi-finals saw an astonishing average of 6.5 goals per match, including a demented match between Austria and hosts Switzerland which finished 7-5 to the Austrians. Something would HAVE to be done.
1958 – SWEDEN
As the poster for the 1958 tournament showed, FIFA had probably messed with the rules a little TOO much. The increased size of the new match ball did succeed in keeping the scores low, with the quarter-finals now seeing an average of just two goals per match. This was mainly due to the fact that if the newly oversized ball could now barely fit beneath the crossbar, and even then the goalkeeper could generally keep a clean sheet by simply grabbing hold of the flags that FIFA insisted be affixed to the ball in a misguided attempt at bringing the competing nations together.
The tournament took a sombre turn when the diminutive Yugoslav winger Boris Petelovic was crushed by one of the oversized footballs in a pre-tournament friendly against East Germany, after foolishly trying to collect a hoofed clearance on his shin. As a result, there was a tribute paid to him in the opening ceremony, and the official tournament poster was designed with his final moments in mind. Just look at his expression of dismayed resignation being obscured by the growing shadow of the brown sphere about to end his life. Brr.
Surely, after such a senseless waste of a human life, FIFA would ensure that the size of match balls was restricted to a more sensible size? Well, if history has taught us anything, it’s that FIFA never really get things right.
1962 – CHILE
In one of the most stupid miscalculations ever made by a sports governing body, FIFA finally accepted that making the match ball smaller would keep the sport entertaining, and new dimensions for a regulation match ball were drawn up in early 1959. However, things would not quite go according to plan.
The original idea was for the ball to be a more modest 37.2 centimetres in diameter. However, a fly getting jammed in FIFA’s telex machine caused Santiago-based sportswear firm Ramirez, Toro and sons to make a prototype football with a diameter of some 37,200 kilometres. Not only did the sheer amount of material used to make the football cause a global shortage in leather, lace and rubber (causing supply chain chaos for the S&M manufacturing community), but the weight of the thing caused earthquakes on an unprecedented scale in the host nation.
(Poking fun at the 1960 Valdivia earthquake? Too soon?)
Much worse than that, the scale of the ball actually caused the globe’s axis to tilt wildly, meaning that from 1960 to 1962, Australia was technically inside the Antarctic circle, and the year of 1961 actually lasted some 437 days, effectively sending the months September to November into ‘extra time’. A series of tactical nuclear strikes eventually corrected the planet’s axis and trajectory around the sun, and the ball was eventually shot into space (where it’s now known as the planet Venus). Concerned that all those events would soon be forgotten about, it was decided that the official tournament poster would mark the events of 1960 and 1961.
Despite all that, the tournament is mainly remembered for a small dog pissing on Jimmy Greaves.
1966 – ENGLAND
“Some people are on the pitch! This is disgraceful behaviour, the match should be stopped and the result overturned immediately!” Ah, everyone remembers that famous piece of commentary from BBC Scotland’s Wee Kenny McWolstenhume.
1966 is the year that, as everyone knows, a British team wearing red won the World Cup. Sadly though, it was England. This poster is a much jollier affair than in previous years, even if the main illustration looks like it’s from an Evening Standard comic strip, and not even an especially popular Evening Standard comic strip, rather than the finely crafted embodiment of a proud nation. And, of course, lions generally only exist in Sub-Saharan Africa and in Asia, so it’s very unlikely that World Cup Willie was actually eligible for an England call-up in the first place. Not to mention that there was almost definitely a clause in FIFA’s rule book that all 22 members of the squads in the 1966 finals had to be, at the very least, members of the Homo genus of bipedal primates. Typical England, always cheating.
1970 – MEXICO
Much more like it. Mexico 1970, generally regarded as the greatest World Cup finals of all time (well, at least until the 2010 World Cup, where New Zealand will beat the Ivory Coast 7-6 in the final, after extra time). Note how the illustrations had been growing simpler over the previous few tournaments? 1962 saw a grandiose illustration actually taken by sending the artists into outer space, whereas 1966 saw a cartoon lion looking pretty pleased with itself against a plan backdrop. Mexico70 took things one step further, with a plain backdrop, and a few polygons thrown at the page in order to make a vague ‘ball’ shape. Luckily, it’s the iconic MEXICO70 typeface that really saves the day. And how iconic was the branding of this World Cup finals? Iconic enough for “MEXICO70” to already be included in Windows Live Writer’s inline spellcheck. That’s how iconic.
We mean, admittedly, it does the same for pretty much any city name and number combination. Swansea1976 also avoids coming up as a spelling error, and it’s a matter of public record that nothing of any interest happened in Swansea in 1976. But anyway, it was a very memorable tournament. with loads of iconic moments, not limited to but including Pele sitting atop someone else’s shoulder. Gordon Banks making an overrated save from a header about fourteen yards out, and (quite brilliantly) one of the pitchside advertisement hoardings in the final being for the Daily Mirror.
Given the number of iconic moments it led to (Reader’s Voice: “Stop saying ‘iconic’!”), it’s all a bit of a shame that the official poster for the greatest World Cup final tournaments ever looked like the rejected artwork for a promo copy of a Primal Scream remix 12” from 1991. And the next tournament’s going to be in West Germany! How functional and minimalist will THAT be? It’ll probably just be the word “fussball74” in comic cans, beneath a beige circle. Oh no!
TOMORROW: GERMANY 1974 onwards.