2014 Brazil FIFA World Cup Ball by Adidas: Brazuca
Besides having a sweet name that combines the name of the host country with the Portugese word for bazooka, the new Adidas soccer ball that will be used for the 2014 Brazil FIFA World Cup has some cool and unique features.
The ball is the most colorful ever used for a World Cup, a reflection of Brazilian culture, and is also the first ball to ever be named by fans, who chose the name Brazuca over Bossa Nova and Carnavalesca.
Instead of the standard amount of stitched together panels that you'll find on a garden-variety soccer ball (32), the Brazuca only has six. Less seams means fewer mishit balls. The seams are also arranged in a way that makes symmetrical, four-armed windmills that should result in faster flight speed, or harder shots. And instead of using actual stitching, the panels are glued together with intense heat.
The last two balls used for the World Cup have been heavily criticized by players for their "beach-ball" qualities. People complained the balls were too light and there was too much unpredictable swerving mid-flight. The Jabulani ball used in South Africa in 2010 had eight panels and very shallow seams. The Teamgeist ball used in Germany in 2006 used 14 panels and also had the same shallow seams as the Jabulani. Both balls were glued together in the same manner as the Brazuca. The knuckleballs being produced had more to do with the balls smoothness as opposed to its lightness, as the balls actually came in at weights comparable to those used in every day matches.
The new Brazuca differs in that it isn't nearly as smooth as the previous two balls. It has much deeper seams to produce a more predictable flight path, so the same issues with balls swerving too much shouldn't be a problem in Brazil.
The Brazuca is the 12th ball designed exclusively for the World Cup by Adidas, who has partnered with FIFA since 1970. Each ball is unique to the tournament and meant to reflect some characteristics of the host country.
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