Update Post: November 28, 2023 9:49 am
Football is an area where beauty and ugliness coexist. Sometimes players do not save each other on the field, and the history of the most popular game in the world knows many episodes when the fight for the ball ended in terrible injuries.
The hero of one of these tragic stories was the CSKA and USSR national team footballer Eduard Dubinsky. The injury he suffered in the World Championship cost him his life.
Dubinsky is a product of Kharkov football. He started out for the local Lokomotiv and then, as part of his military service, played for the ODO (Officers’ District Houses) club. He first played for the army in his native Kharkov, then was transferred to Sverdlovsk. When the service ended for Dubinsky, who showed himself well, a direct path to CSKA was opened.
Photo source: megabook.ru
The inflexible right back did not immediately manage to play at the highest level. The guy first joined the USSR national team only in 1961, when he was already 26 years old. However, not everyone is too early to bloom. Dubinsky, who was going through his second youth, began to be called almost one of the main talents of the generation. CSKA midfielder Arkady Panov said that Eduard was distinguished by his extremely high speed, as well as the courage with which he came into contact. The latter partly played a cruel joke on the footballer…
In 1962, Dubinsky went with the national team to the World Championship in Chile. In the first match of the group stage, the USSR team faced Yugoslavia. Relations between the two countries at that time were no longer as tense as in the late 1940s and 1950s, but opposing players had no reverence for Soviet players. From the beginning of the match they acted very rude and in some places just plain rude.
In the 81st minute the score was 1:0 in favor of the Soviet Union team thanks to Valentin Ivanov’s goal. Meanwhile, passions were heating up. At some point, Yugoslav striker Muhamed Muich could not stand it. From the entire run, he flew at Dubinsky in a brutal tackle. Surprisingly, the referee did not notice the infringement and did not even show Muic a yellow card. And this despite the fact that Dubinsky was simply writhing in pain.
Photo source: FIFA
Of course, Edward had to be changed. He was taken off the field on a stretcher. The USSR team responded to Muich’s rudeness with the second goal: it was scored by Viktor Ponedelnik. Dubinsky was taken to the hospital, where he was diagnosed with a double tibia fracture.
attempts to return
After the match, journalists criticized the referee, the organizers and FIFA. International officials did not even apologize for the referee’s decision. But the Yugoslav Football Federation acted fairly. Muic was suspended from playing with the national team for one year. The punishment ended up being life-long for Mukhamed: he did not play with the national team again.
Dubinsky had to go through several difficult operations. During his recovery he did not hide his intention to return to football. It took almost a year to turn the plans into reality. Eduard played for CSKA again, was called up to the national team, it seemed that life was getting better. But the old trauma didn’t let go…
Photo source: FIFA
Dubinsky continued to feel pain and new operations did not help. As a result, the defender retired at the age of 33. Literally immediately after this, he found out that he had a terminal illness. Doctors diagnosed him with bone sarcoma. And the reason, apparently, was precisely the unfortunate turning point in the World Cup match.
The cancer was already in an advanced stage, but Dubinsky fought until the end. I even underwent chemotherapy treatment, but unfortunately, it was of no use. On May 11, 1969, the footballer died. Muich died in 2016 at the age of 82. He never spoke about the death of the Soviet player.