Introduction Mexico 1970
With the conclusion of the Mexico World Cup in 1970, the Jules Rimet Trophy had been won for the third time by Brazil, led by Pelé, who beat Italy 4-1 in the Final, and awarded permanently to the team. The modernist poster design incorporated pictograms, also evident in the poster for the 1968 Mexico Olympic Games, as new visual identities, including those of protest, linked artists with graphic sporting communication. Hosting both an Olympic Games and a World Cup within two years at high altitude heralded a new era of sports science as the heat and thin air made conditions difficult.
As to the poster, the pictogram of a simple football again used football as a metaphor for the world as the tournament grew and the global audiences looking on as television allowed live action, for the first time in colour, into people’s living rooms. African nations had joined the seventy one entries for the preliminary competition and Morocco made the last sixteen, along with Israel, El Salvador, Peru, USSR and South American rivals Uruguay and Brazil: the remaining eight teams were European. Innovations included the first red and yellow cards for sending off and cautioning players, and the authorization of two substitutions per team per match.
The mascot was humanized as a small cartoon boy Juanito (little John) a very common name in Mexico. Juanito wore his country’s football strip, casually controlled a football, wearing a sombrero embellished with the words Mexico 70. The Adidas-endorsed Telstar football and other merchandise was now broadcast worldwide and in colour. Russian Telstar communications satellites, launched in 1962 relayed live transatlantic television broadcasts. Telstar passed into all kinds of popular culture from music to games and comics. The Adidas Telstar football was designed for use in the 1970 and 1974 World Cup tournaments.
West Germany 1974
The 1974 FIFA World Cup, the tenth staging of the World Cup, was held in West Germany, including West Berlin and became Germany’s second World Cup success, beating the Netherlands 2-1 in the final. The tournament marked the first time that the current trophy, the FIFA World Cup Trophy, created by the Italian sculptor Silvio Gazzaniga was awarded. West Germany lost a game to East Germany in what was still a divided nation. New teams to the tournament included Australia, Haiti, Poland, Scotland, and Zaire and returning sides included Argentina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Chile, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden and Uruguay. Johan Crujff was at the pinnacle of his genius for the Netherlands but the honours went to Franz Beckenbauer. The poster, designed by Fritz Genkinger, returned to featuring a football player striking the ball as its main theme with the use of colour and broad brush adding to a sense of dynamism and speed. The names of the host cities featured prominently, and subsequently host city posters would be developed to promote regional identity. The mascots were Tip and Tap, two cartoon boys who were meant to represent a unified Germany.
The 1978 World Cup was held in Argentina, during the winter, causing controversy as a military coup had taken place in the country two years earlier. Argentina became the fifth country to win a World Cup on home soil in 1978. However, overt politicization of the victory perhaps tainted this achievement, since for two years in the build up to the tournament General Jorge Rafael Videla and other junta chiefs used the World Cup as a form of propaganda for their ‘Dirty War’ on political dissidents, many of whom became ‘the Disappeared’. The numbers were shocking, Amnesty International estimated that there had been 10,000 murders; 15,000 disappearances and 8,000 prisoners between 1976 and 1978. Although it was the first time that the number of national associations entering the preliminary World Cup tournament had exceeded 100, the poster, featured two men hugging and presumably celebrating a goal. When seen up close, the heavily pixilated players are rather spooky, as if they too are gradually disappearing from view. Again, the host cities are prominent. Very like Juanito, Gauchito the mascot was again a cartoon boy wearing Argentine colours and a neckerchief.
Ironically under these circumstances, a new figurine was inaugurated that remains part of World Cup ritual today. The FIFA Fair Play award started out as a certificate given to the team considered to have demonstrated the fairest play during the World Cup tournament and soon graduated into
a statue inspired by cartoon character Sport Billy. Tunisia achieved a first win for African football at the tournament, beating Mexico 3-1. Scotland had gone into the tournament with considerable optimism, having beaten Czechoslovakia, the current European champions but a 3-1 defeat to Peru dashed manager Ally MacLeod’s hopes.
Spain hosted an expanded 1982 World Cup Finals tournament which featured twenty-four teams; the first expansion since 1934. Surrealist Joan Miró designed the tournament poster and died in 1983, making this one of his most high profile late works. By then, each host city also commissioned a poster in a signature artistic style of each city’s culture and regional identities became much more important. For instance, the print for Barcelona by Antoni Tàpies is one of many of these regional posters held at the National Football Museum collections. Tàpies combined abstract mural and collage techniques of the Dua al Set movement that arose in Catalonia after World War Two as the region struggled for independence. It has a very contemporary graffiti-style appearance as a result. The mascot was Naranjito, an orange with humanized features and a squat shape in humorous reference to football itself.
The flair teams, France and Brazil, were knocked out by better organised squads from West Germany and Italy respectively. These two teams met in the Final, where the Italians beat West Germany 3-1 to win the trophy for a record-equalling three times. Cameroon, Kuwait and New Zealand were amongst the new nations to the tournament. Although the innovation of the penalty shoot-out had been made in 1974, this was the first time that they had been needed and, when West Germany defeated France through this method, it became something of a specialism, winning further shoot-outs in 1986, 1990 and 2006. This has not been the case for England.
Conclusion Mexico 1986
Mexico became the first country to host a World Cup twice in 1986. A young American popular culture specialist, Annie Leibowitz, designed a series of posters: the first time a photographer was commissioned to create official designs. She also did a series of official photos, having begun her career less than ten years before on Rolling Stone and Vanity Fair. Pictographic influences were also much in evidence. However, the visual language of advertising and promotion increasing influenced poster design. The National Football Museum has a collection of Leibowitz limited edition images that feature a man, with a football in a desert environment. There is no typography or lettering of any kind and the relationship of the photographs to the World Cup is less obvious than in other posters. Gary Lineker was the leading goalscorer of the tournament and the world enjoyed being introduced to the Mexican Wave. Iraq made their debut, and Northern Ireland returned for a second time. Thanks to Diego Maradona’s Hand of God, and a second Goal of the Century, England were eliminated and Argentina went on to lift the trophy after beating West Germany. The mascot was a jalapeño pepper, called Pique, and the action on the pitch was indeed spicy. One of the classic World Cup tournaments. The next blog will look at a new era of selling the World Cup, beginning with Italia ’90.