Adidas’ 2018 World Cup ball has aesthetic ties to 1970 but technology suited to modern play. While the World Cup ball has evolved over the decades in both construction and materials, the 2018 version continues that path with an all-new carcass and technical panel design.
1 of 12
Or: Chile, 1962
Chilean World Cup balls cracked after being dunked in water, prompting officials to ask European teams to bring their own footballs.
2 of 12
Or: Mexico, 1970
The very first black and white ball created for ideal television viewing. The 32 panels helped create a ball that held its roundness during play, but the seams created uneven corners.
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Or: Spain, 1982
Using a mix of leather and synthetic materials for the first time, the 32 hand-stitched panels used black and white, but in a different pattern for an illusion of circles covering the ball.
4 of 12
Or: Mexico, 1986
The first fully synthetic match ball coated with polyurethane attempted to reduce water absorption and started the tradition of flamboyant designs.
5 of 12
Or: Italy, 1990
Made entirely from synthetic materials, the ball included a layer of latex to improve stability and durability.
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Or: United States, 1994
Using a layer of polystyrene foam, the ball had improved acceleration when hit while providing a soft feel for players.
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Or: France, 1998
Using gas-filled micro-bubbles inside a new layer of foam, Adidas says the ball will feature high-level compression for an explosive bounce.
8 of 12
Or: Japan and South Korea, 2002
Thermal binding has replaced seams for truer bounce. But the smooth surfaces required the addition of grooves to stabilize unpredictable flight patterns.
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Or: Germany, 2006
Going to 14 panels meant smoother hitting surfaces and accurate, faster balls. The strikers loved it. The guards hated him.
ten of 12
Or: South Africa, 2010
Players of all positions abhorred the eight panels of Grip’n’Groove technology, which would have produced extremely unpredictable flight.
11 of 12
Or: Brazil, 2014
Brazuca, which means inherently Brazilian, featured six interlocking panels intended to improve aerodynamic continuity and flight speed. Secret in-game and wind tunnel testing helped the brand avoid Jabualni’s misadventures at South Africa 2010.
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Or: Russia, 2018
The Telstar 18 ball is reminiscent of the Telstar ball introduced for the 1970 World Cup in Mexico, both in name and visual cues. It features a black and white design in a pixelated digital design and only includes six panels.
Although similar to the Brazil 2014 World Cup ball, which was the first to use six panels, the Telstar 18 redesigned the propeller-shaped panels giving them sharper edges and creating panel edges longer with longer grooves, all intended to improve flight stability.
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