Three days ahead of the 2014 World Cup draw, Adidas has unveiled the ball that will be used at the tournament, but you may have already seen it. Desperate to avoid a repeat of the Jabulani debacle at the 2010 World Cup, Adidas has gone to great lengths to try and ensure the new ball — dubbed the "Brazuca" — doesn't suffer the same criticism.
Players and NASA scientists alike heaped scorn on the Jabulani for its "knuckle effect" that its light weight and limited seams produced when used in the high-altitude conditions in South Africa. This led to some bizarre goals and widespread complaints of the ball negatively impacting results. So this time around, Adidas put the Brazuca (which is "an informal local term which means 'Brazilian,' or to describe the Brazilian way of life") through unprecedented paces.
According to the company, which has provided every World Cup match ball since 1970, the Brazuca is the "most tested ball ever by Adidas." The ball has not only been tested by "600 of the world’s top players and 30 teams in 10 countries across three continents" over a two and a half year period, but it has also been quietly used in the U-20 World Cup and a friendly between Sweden and Argentina back in February, but with a different print design.
Brazil defender Dani Alves said the ball "plays well on the ground and in the air. I'm sure all the players will love it." So there shouldn't be any excuses. As for the squiggly design, the symbolism is described like so:
The colors and ribbon design of the ball panels symbolize the traditional multi-colored wish bracelets worn in the country (fita do Senhor do Bonfim da Bahia), in addition to reflecting the vibrancy and fun associated with football in Brazil.
And as an added bonus, every baby born in Brazil on Dec. 3 will be entitled to a free ball to celebrate the release.
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- 2010 World Cup