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World Cup Ball History and the 2014 Brazuca

With the 2014 FIFA World Cup in our sights we’ll take a look at the new FIFA World Cup Ball dubbed the ‘Brazuca’ and go through the history of FIFA World Cup Balls dating back to 1930.

The first ever World Cup Ball was used between Argentina and Uruguay at the 1930 FIFA World Cup and won by the latter in the final where both teams supplied one ball for each half. First made out of 12-piece leather construction the balls weighed about two to three times what they are today as balls were not water proof, as they absorbed water throughout the game it the pitch was wet. The Federale 102 Ball was used for the 1934 FIFA World Cup in Italy and the ball used before the Second World War was for the 1938 FIFA World Cup in France. From 1950 to 1966 brown leather balls were used including the ball manufactured by Slazenger for the 1966 FIFA World Cup.

Known for their enterprising sportsgear including football boots and shirts, German brand adidas have been the official FIFA World Cup partner with FIFA for over forty years and the world renowned brand began to make footballs for the FIFA World Cup first in 1970. The first ball designed by adidas used the Buckminster type of design i.e. the first ball with black and white panels and the Telstar used in the 1970 and 1874 FIFA World Cups and was easily seen on a black and white television.

In 1982 adidas introduced a new ball called the Tango Espana which featured a rubber inlay making it the first water resistant ball and it was the last genuine leather made ball. The 1986 FIFA World Cup in Mexico saw the first synthetic produced ball dubbed the Azteca which resulted in a dramatic reduction in weight of the balls. Further enhancements in 1990 (Etrvsco) and 1994 (Questra) included internal layers of foam making the balls softer and easier to kick.

The 1998 FIFA World Cup in France saw the first non black and white coloured ball introduced where the ball was designed to match the vibrant colours of the Les Bleus national team in which it was dubbed ‘Tricolore’. In 2002 for the World Cup in South Korea and Japan the ball was dubbed the Fevernova and it featured added layers inside the ball for enhanced accuracy when kicking the ball. The Teamgeist Germany was the ball used for the FIFA World Cup in 2006 and it was a product of extensive research and development making the product the most advanced adidas ball ever at the time.

The ball used at the most recent World Cup in South Africa in 2010 was dubbed the Jabulani and received the most criticism by any adidas ball as it unpredictably changed direction when traveling through the air favouring forwards and disadvantaging goalkeepers. With the 2014 FIFA World Cup Ball the Brazuca set to be released this December along with the group stage seeds it will be interesting to see what players think about the performance of the ball.

According to FIFA “the informal term “brazuca” is used by Brazilians to describe national pride in the Brazilian way of life”, and “mirroring their approach to football, it symbolises emotion, pride and goodwill to all”. The term is also used as slang for “Brazilian” and became well-known abroad due to the Brazilian diaspora and two other voting options were given: Bossa Nova (14.6% of the vote) and Carnavalesca (7.6% of the vote).

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