With just three days to go the Final Draw for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in the Russian capital, the famed Moscow Metro held the unveiling of the last remaining visual icon of the event. For the 2018 issue of the Official Poster, the renowned Russian artist Igor Gurovich chose legendary Soviet goalkeeper Lev Yashin as a central figure of his work.
“The Official Poster of the 2018 FIFA World Cup is a true reflection of Russia’s artistic and football heritage,” commented FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura. “We are very proud of this beautiful landmark asset that portrays such an important icon and celebrates the coming tournament on Russian soil.”
“It was very important for us to portray Russia as the Host Country in the Official Poster,” added the Chairman of the Russia 2018 Local Organising Committee Vitaly Mutko. “That’s why we chose Lev Yashin, a symbol of Russian football, as the main figure. I’m sure that the poster will become one of the most memorable symbols of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia and that fans and participants alike will approve of it.”
Yashin played in four FIFA World Cups – 1958, 1962, 1966 and 1970 – and remains the only goalkeeper in the history of football to win the Ballon d’Or. In the poster, he is dressed in his traditional outfit of black shirt and shorts, knee brace and his famous cap. He is shown reaching for the ball, one half of which is a typical football from Yashin’s era, with the other depicting the vast landmass of Russia as seen from space, reflecting a key inspiration of the 2018 FIFA World Cup brand, that of Russia’s achievements in space exploration.
Artistically, Gurovich was inspired by the Russian movement of Constructivism from the late 1920s, in particular the posters designed by Dziga Vertov and the Stenberg brothers. The rays of light emanating from the ball, a common feature of Constructivist work, symbolises the tournament’s energy, while the circle of green represents the pitches of 12 stadiums in 11 Host Cities that will stage the 64 matches of the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The culmination of this festival of football will be the Final on 15 July 2018 at the Luzhniki Stadium, where the captain of the winning team will lift the FIFA World Cup Trophy in front of the watching world.
“The style of Soviet post-Constructivist posters from the 1920s and 1930s, their unique visual language, a new, fresh poetry of figurative images, became one of the most important and revered elements of Russian culture,” said Gurovich. “This language is unquestionably thought of as Russian throughout the world. Therefore, in my work on the poster, I really wanted to make this language modern and relevant once again.”
“Lev Yashin massively changed what it was to be a goalkeeper,” remembered Vladimir Ponomaryov, Yashin’s contemporary and team-mate at the 1966 FIFA World Cup in England. “Thanks to him, the role of a goalkeeper grew significantly in the team. Yashin actively marshalled his defenders, played the ball out well with his hands and came off his line to help the defence. Lev was a big personality on the pitch. I’m expecting fascinating matches, beautiful goals and, of course, brilliant footballers just like Yashin at the World Cup in Russia.”
FIFA World Cup Posters have long been considered a genuine work of art that draw interest from dealers, collectors of football memorabilia, members of the artistic community and football fans all over the world.
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