World Cup images aim at archival goals

Germany’s emotional 1-0 victory over Argentina in Sunday’s FIFA World Cup final in Rio de Janeiro repeated history. In 1990, West Germany beat Argentina 1-0 to win the World Cup in Rome and avenged its 3-2 championship loss to Argentina four years earlier in Mexico City.

German World Cup wins before that were by West Germany in 1974 in Munich, against the Netherlands, and in 1954 in Bern, against Hungary. When East and West Germany re-unified after the 1990 World Cup, three German soccer teams merged into the current one governed by the 114-year-old German Football Association (DFB).

West Germany beat the Netherlands 2-1 in the 1974 FIFA World Cup final. After the Cold War, Berti Vogts (second from left) was the first coach of Germany's newly-unified soccer team. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Growing with the Germany-Argentina grudge was Annie Leibovitz’s photography career. She was the official World Cup portrait photographer for the 1986 games and ArchiveGrid lists a collection containing one of her images, of a Mayan sculpture with a soccer ball. Leibovitz has since established fame for photographing soccer players for major publications such as Vanity Fair. Hopefully more of her early soccer photography will soon become discoverable online.

Soccer is a photogenic sport. Thanks to organizations who photograph, preserve, and enable access to images from the World Cup, Mario Götze’s winning goal at the 2014 games should go down in history much like Andreas Brehme’s penalty kick in 1990.

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