The football in the spotlight

The football in the spotlight
Spherical evolution
The football in the spotlight
Sperical evolution
Adidas unveiled the official football of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ in Moscow on November 9, prompting welcome2018.com to look back on the history of World Cup footballs.
Adidas unveiled the official football of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ in Moscow on November 9, prompting welcome2018.com to look back on the history of World Cup footballs.
Pebble leather
If you show the football used in the premiere World Cup in 1930 to a modern football fan, he is likely to stare in disbelief at this rough brown leather artefact of 12 panels stitched together by hand. The shape of this ball was closer to a cannon round than the perfect sphere. But perhaps its most unusual feature was the lace stitching. They still lace the ball in American football nowadays, but they do it for a practical purpose: the stitching makes it easier to spin the football. Back in 1930, the lacing had no practical purpose; they simply did not know how to stitch a football together from inside. To make matters worse, the “lace” was a solid leather thread at the 1930 World Cup in Uruguay, leaving marks on many a footballer forehead.

It is interesting that, despite its heavier materials, the old-school football was lighter than its modern counterparts, officially ranging between 368 g and 425 g. On the other hand, the leather would absorb water and swell when it rained; the ball’s weight increased. Taking a direct hit on the head with such a football, especially stitch first, did not augur well for the player. The first three World Cups were played with these imperfect and unsafe footballs.
In fact, there was no official football at the debut World Cup. The squads used their own footballs, like when they played in their backyard. There was a dispute before the final. Argentina and Uruguay could not agree about whose football to use.
In fact, there was no official football at the debut World Cup. The squads used their own footballs, like when they played in their backyard. There was a dispute before the final. Argentina and Uruguay could not agree about whose football to use.
Eventually, they made a decision worthy of Solomon. The Argentinean Tiento football was used in the first period, and the Uruguayan T-Model was used in the second.
1930 Tiento football from the 1930 World Cup in Uruguay. Argentina and Uruguay could not decide whose football to use in the Cup final. Eventually, the Tiento was used in the first period, and the Uruguayan T-Model was used in the 2nd period. Uruguay won 4-2
There were no technological innovations in the manufacturing of footballs during the 1930s, except that someone came up with the fortunate idea to replace leather with cotton for the football stitching lace by the 1934 World Cup Italy. The weight of the football was changed to 410-450 g in 1937, and this standard has been upheld to this day.
Rounding it up
Technology went forward in the 1940s during the 12 wartime years when the world had more pressing matters to attend to than the football World Cup. The footballs played at the 1950 World Cup Brazil were much better quality than their pre-war predecessors.

The players no longer needed to worry about stitch marks on their foreheads: the external lace stitching was gone. The Duplo Т ball was pumped up via an internal air intake valve. Natural leather continued to be used. The football was sewn together from 12 panels. Thanks to the lining between the air tube and the outside layer, the new ball was closer to a perfect sphere. They also adopted some new colours - white and orange – as brown footballs were sometimes too difficult to spot for spectators.
2) This 1954 World Cup Switzerland football, sewn together from 18 leather panels, is now on display in a Frankfurt museum.
The 12 years that followed saw a rising tendency to increase the number of leather panels from which the football was made. There were 18 panels on the football at the 1954 World Cup Switzerland, and there were 24 at FWC 1958 in Sweden.
1957 was the year when FIFA for the first time allowed open bidding for the design of World Cup footballs. The winner would be picked by a four-strong FIFA jury, including Valentin Granatkin, representing the Soviet Union.
1957 was the year when FIFA for the first time allowed open bidding for the design of World Cup footballs. The winner would be picked by a four-strong FIFA jury, including Valentin Granatkin, representing the Soviet Union.
Ten finalists were selected from the number of 102 bidding balls without any identification. Another two hours of testing determined the winner. It was the football under No. 55, which turned out to be the Swedish-made Top Star.

There was an embarrassing moment at the 1962 World Cup in Chile. The South Americans came up with an innovative orange football christened Mr. Crack, which was made from large hexagons instead of longitudinal panels. The head referee, a Brit by the name of Ken Aston, who refereed the opening game, hated the new football. Having inspected Mr. Crack in great detail, he asked the hosts to find the European Top Star football, used in the 1958 World Cup and the 1960 European Championship. Many European squads would refuse to use the Chilean football in the wake of this incident. The hexagons would make a triumphal comeback, but only eight years later.
3) The Challenge 4-Star football, played in the final of 1966 World Cup England, went missing for 30 years, before resurfacing at the British National Football Museum. IN THE PHOTO: West Germany and England squads before the final. Helmut Haller, who (as it later transpired) would grab the football after the match and take it home to play with his son, is fourth from the left.
3) The Challenge 4-Star football, played in the final of 1966 World Cup England, went missing for 30 years, before resurfacing at the British National Football Museum. IN THE PHOTO: West Germany and England squads before the final. Helmut Haller, who (as it later transpired) would grab the football after the match and take it home to play with his son, is fourth from the left.
The British Challenge 4-Star football, used in the 1966 World Cup England, was the last old-school football to be used in a World Cup. It turned out to be incredibly wear-resistant, as time would tell. According to historical records, the Challenge 4-Star, played by the England and Germany squads in their final, went missing after the match. Years later it transpired that the German footballer Helmut Haller had grabbed it. For many years he would play the football with his son in the backyard of their house. The football, recovered in a near-mint condition (considering its long life) in 1996, went on display at the National Football Museum in the UK.
German technology
Credit for revolutionizing the production of footballs belongs to the Germans. The Adidas Telstar football was premiered at the 1968 European Championship, and became the official World Cup football in Mexico in 1970. Telstar is the abbreviated version of “television star.”

The Telstar was completely unlike any of its predecessors.
1
The flat longitudinal panels had been replaced by 12 pentagons and 20 hexagons, yielding a football of amazing smoothness and roundness.
2
The football coloration changed. The pentagons were black, and the hexagons - white. These colours were not a random choice. In 1970, the World Cup games were broadcast in colour for the first time. The black and white sphere was clearly visible on the green, making for an easier TV viewing experience. This colour scheme remains symbolic of football to this day. Many football leagues and clubs use this very football in their emblems.
3
New materials were used. The external surface was still leather, but there was an artificial lining underneath, which enhanced the football’s water-tightness.
The Telstar started an entire new generation of World Cup footballs. Its carcass of 32 panels would remain in use up until 2006.

The Telstar Durlast football used in the 1974 World Cup Germany was exactly identical to its predecessor. The Tango football used in Argentina in 1978 was the same Telstar, but differently painted in a style that would be, in a basic form, reproduced on footballs for another 20 years. It was covered in 20 triads which, in the idea of the football’s creators, symbolized passion and power. This colour scheme became the model for most footballs used in the subsequent World Cups.
The 1982 World Cup Spain football was the first to be made from a mix of leather and man-made materials. It had special water-resistant polyurethane coating. IN THE PHOTO: Footballs crafted specially for the World Cup, 3 March 1982. The football in front is an enlarged floor sample.
The football manufacturers came up with something new for the 1982 World Cup Spain. It looked exactly like the Argentinean Tango football. They did not even bother with inventing a new name, christening the football Tango España. However, this was the first football ever made from a blend of natural leather and synthetic materials. It had a watertight external polyurethane covering. Azteca, made by Adidas for the 1986 World Cup Mexico, was the first fully artificial football. It looked like the Tango, except that the triads were depicted in the style of Aztec murals. Diego Maradona’s “Goal of the Century” and “Hand of God” were scored with this football.

There were no more significant changes in football architecture until the end of the 20th century, but the quality, wear-resistance and water-tightness of footballs continued to improve.
Tricolore, the last of the Tango series footballs used during the 1998 World Cup France, was filled with synthetic foam, which regulated the energy balance when the ball was kicked. IN THE PHOTO: Denmark squad player kicking the ball into play in a match with Saudi Arabia.
Tricolore, used during the 1998 World Cup France, was the last football of the legendary series. It was filled with synthetic foam, which regulated the energy balance when the ball was kicked. This football was no longer monochrome: the classic Tango triads were red and blue. The Tricolore was the last Tango-coloured football to be used in a World Cup.
It took Adidas three years to craft the football for the 2002 World Cup, staged in Japan and South Korea. The “classic” football architecture with 20 hexagons and 12 pentagons was used for the last time on the Fevernova, which came in a maximum permitted size (70 cm girth and 450 g weight), and with a synthetic foam lining inside.
. The “classic” football architecture with 20 hexagons and 12 pentagons was used for the last time on the Fevernova, which came in a maximum permitted size (70 cm girth and 450 g weight), and with a synthetic foam lining inside.
The Fevernova would be remembered for its unpredictable performance, going off on crazy trajectories that befuddled the goalies and strikers alike.

This World Cup saw the first major football design change since 1978. The ball was now covered with a mesh of hundreds of tiny hexagons. Superimposed on this mesh were images of tongues of flame on a golden background.
It’s the aerodynamics, stupid!
+Teamgeist opened a new page in football design history at the 2006 World Cup. This football was made from 6 panels remotely resembling the figure “8,” and eight large triads. These features were touted as football control and kicking precision enhancers. They hardly mattered when the ball was toe-punched, but more nuanced players could really tell the difference. With the new thermal bonding technology, water resistance was no longer a problem. The weight of this football would increase by a maximum of 0.1 percent when the ball absorbed humidity. The “plus” before the ball’s name was a pragmatic precaution to prevent the German expression Teamgeist (Team Spirit) from being used as a trade name on its own.

The World Cup came to Africa for the first time in 2010. The football used in World Cup South Africa was named Jabulani, which means “celebrate” in Zulu. The football was decorated with proper festiveness: 11 colours for the SA squad and for SA’s 11 eleven languages. This time the football was made from eight thermally bonded panels. Commentators made frequent allegations that the Jabulani was a “remote controlled” football.
Forward Sports employee securing the thermal seam on a Brazuca football. Sialkot, Punjab, Pakistan. 28 January 2014.
The most recent World Cup football, the 2014 Brazuca, was touted as “revolutionary” by the manufacturer, and it really was. To be sure, Adidas kept its secrets well. All we know is that this football was made with “innovative technology.” It consists of six polyurethane panels, joined by equally “innovative” thermal seams. “The improved surface texture provides excellent traction and aerodynamics on the pitch,” went the Brazuca newsletter.

There was one more innovation to this football: fans were granted the privilege of naming it. Brazuca is decked out in tricolored ribbons, symbolizing the “wishing bracelets” people wear in Brazil.
Adidas branded its Brazuca football “revolutionary.” It was made with innovative technology, bonded with improved thermal seams, and it came with an original textured surface. Forward Sports employees manually assembling the panels to make Brazuca footballs. Sialkot, Punjab, Pakistan. 28 January 2014.
Forward Sports employee testing the quality of a newly made football with special equipment. Sialkot, Punjab, Pakistan. 28 January 2014.
Forward Sports employee testing the quality of a newly made football with special equipment. Sialkot, Punjab, Pakistan. 28 January 2014..
World Cup footballs