Bizarre photo reveals high-tech World Cup footballs need to be charged up before being used in games


Telstar Mechta 18 – Russia 2018 

The ‘Telstar Mechta’ is fit with a ‘vivid red design’ which was supposed to reflect the colours of the host nation and the ‘rising heat’ of knockout football. 

It featured the latest technology and an innovative NFC chip to enable digital interaction. 

Brazuca – Brazil 2014

The unique scientific feature was that it had six polyurethane panels which were bonded to keep the ball the same weight and roundness in heavy rain. 

With the Jabulani far from popular, the pressure was on FIFA and adidas to ensure the latest instalment of the World Cup ball merited more positive coverage. 

Jabulani – South Africa 2010

The Jabulani, which means ‘to celebrate’ in Zulu, was adorned in 11 colours in tribute to Adidas’ 11 previous World Cup balls.

It used for the first time ‘grip and groove’ technology – thermally-bonded panels twisting around the ball for extra aerodynamics.

But it was met with a storm of criticism from players during the tournament.

Teamgeist – Germany 2006

This was Adidas’ best performing ball ever. Tests confirmed that the Teamgeist was more round, precise and consistent than any other competetive match ball.

According to FIFA: ‘Thanks to a revolutionary 14-panel ball configuration, players were able to show their true skills, as the quality and performance characteristics were identical every time they kicked the ball.’

Fevernova – Japan/Korea 2002 

This was the result of three years of improvement on the ‘Tricolore’ at the adidas research centre in Scheinfeld in southern Germany. 

The adidas triad design had now become two single, enlarged triads with the points turning into clockwise arrows in the colours of grey, red and gold. 

Tricolore – France 1998

The ball itself was based on an entirely new synthetic material featuring ‘syntactic foam’, claiming to give better compression and more explosive rebound characteristics than its predecessor.

The foam was made up of gas-filled micro-bubbles that distributed energy equally when the ball was kicked.

Questra – USA 1994

Inspired by space technology, high velocity rockets and America’s ‘quest for the stars’, the USA 1994 match ball was named the Questra.

Enveloped in a layer of polystyrene foam, the Questra had greater ball acceleration when kicked, felt softer to the touch gave players better ball control.

Azteca – Mexico 1986

This was a completely new model, developed for the World Cup in Mexico.

Made of synthetic material in layers, each with different properties to give strength to the ball, it was able to retain its shape and be fully waterproof.

The Azteca Mexico was a hand-sewn ball, and for the first time, synthetic material, rather than leather was used to produce it.

Tango Espana – Spain 1982

This was the first ball to be made of a mix of real leather and synthetic material.

It was once again composed of 32 hand sewn panels, with the same black and white Tango design: the curved triangles were printed on every hexagon, which formed circles around the 12 pentagonal panels, giving the ball a visual illusion of 12 identical circles.

Telstar – Mexico 1970

The World Cup in Mexico in 1970 was the first FIFA World Cup to be televised around the globe, so, Adidas added 12 black pentagonal panels to make it more visible on black and white television and named it after the Telstar satellite.

The black and white pattern also helped players to see the spin of the ball as it traveled through the air.

To this day, the Adidas Telstar remains the common design template for all generic soccer balls.

 – Belinda Robinson 

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