, author: Ermakova M.

Balls in the World Cup 1950-1962: the rescue valve and the Chilean curiosit

The balls continued to become more perfect, but everything depended on the conscientiousness of the manufacturers.

For twelve years, the best football players on the planet did not gather in order to determine the world champion, and finally, in 1950, the World Cup was held in Brazil. During this time, a lot has changed, including the technology of making balls.

Balls at the World Cup 1930-1938: a dangerous string and the Orsi incident

In this tournament, local balls from Belle Ventile, called Super Duplo T, were used. The fundamental composition of the ball remained the same—it was sewn from twelve leather panels, but they were joined not at a straight line, but at an obtuse angle, they were curved at the junctions. This made it possible to reduce the load on the seams, to make the ball stronger and more resistant to deformation.

A very important innovation was getting rid of lacing—a valve was used instead. This not only made the ball more spherical, but also saved the players from torment: now it was not necessary to wait for abrasions and bruises when the ball fell, lacing down when riding.

In the final group of the World Cup-50, the final match, as if on order, was the last match in which the Uruguayan team won a strong-willed victory over Brazil—2: 1 and won gold. After the game, the Uruguayan midfielder Schubert Gambetta took the lucky ball with him, and it was kept at his home for a long time, and in 2010 the National Football Museum bought it from the midfielder's family.

In 1954, FIFA began to control the mass, diameter, and size of balls. The football world was gradually moving towards unification. At the World Championships in Switzerland, they used the local ball "Swiss World Champion", which was manufactured by the Basel company Coast Sport. Its distinctive feature was not only its yellow color, but also the fact that it consisted of eighteen panels, which means that its shape was closer to ideal than that of its predecessors.

There were 102 bids to be the official ball of 1958. They were chosen—and blindly, without knowing the manufacturer—by representatives of FIFA, among whom was the Soviet delegate Valentin Granatkin. This World Cup was the first in which the USSR national team participated, and it fell to play with the Swedish Top Star ball. The balls were made from 24 panels in three colors—brown, white and orange. By the way, the first goal of the Soviet national team at the world championships was scored in the first match with the British by Nikita Simonyan. Then our players reached the quarterfinals.

It can be assumed that with each tournament, the quality of balls at the world championships became higher and higher. But it's not. An example of this is the World Cup-62, which was held in Chile. The supplier was a local entrepreneur, Custodio Zamora, who introduced an 18-panel "Crack Top Star" ball. However, the orange color was almost the only attractive feature of this ball. Already during the break in the opening match of the championship between the national teams of Chile and Switzerland, the English chief referee Kenneth Aston asked to replace the ball with a European one. However, the players also complained about its quality: “Crack”, apparently, was made of low quality material—in the rain it became damp, heavy and lost color. Therefore, European balls were often used in matches and in training, including those from the last World Cup in Sweden.