The World Cup ball, which is an emblematic element of the World Cup, has undergone various developments since 1930. Looking back.
From Telstar to Fevernova, from South Africa’s Jabulani to Germany’s Teamgeist, World Cup football, along with Champions League football, is the most iconic green rectangle. If he only lives for a month before he is absent for four long years, the World Cup ball would like to be this link that sends us back a few years.
The story of World Cup balls
How can we forget the legendary ball from the 1998 World Cup, Tricolore? How not to pay tribute to the emblematic Telstar who revolutionized the world of ball in the 70s? Before the presentation of the new World Cup ball by adidas, we look back at those who shaped the history of the competition.
Telstar, the ball for the 2018 World Cup
All World Cup balls since 1930
From the first edition in Uruguay in 1930 to the modern competition that awaits us in 2022 in Qatar, the ball bears witness to this world championship story. A great way too to understand and discover the evolution of the technologies used on this modest but oh so important accessory, it’s the ball.
The World Cup in 1930
Location: Uruguay | 1930 World Cup ball name: T-Shape
A first World Cup and already a first story with the ball. In the final between Uruguay and Argentina, two different balls were used during the match. The first period was supplied by Argentina, a Tiento model with 12 panels made in Scotland, while the second period was supplied by Uruguay, T-Shape imported from England. Note that the latter was much heavier and thicker than in the first period, and that Uruguay, who were then down 1-2 at the break, finally won the World Cup with a score of 4-2.
The World Cup in 1934
Location: Italy | World Cup ball name 1934: Unknown
The World Cup in 1938
Location: France | World Cup 1938 name: Allen
On the occasion of the World Cup in France, the ball from the Parisian house Allen stands out from its predecessors, as we find a ball consisting of 13 leather panels against 12 previously.
The 1950 World Cup
Location: Brazil | World Cup ball name 1950: Unknown
1950 marks a turning point in the World Cup ball, as for the first time it does not have the traditional laces. Instead, a valve similar to what one can still find today is used.
1954 World Cup
Location: Switzerland | World Cup ball name 1954: Unknown
In 1954, a yellow balloon took over. The biggest special feature of this ball is the level of the markings. While the world takes place in Switzerland, we find the mention “SWISS WORLD CHAMPION MATCHBALL”.
1958 World Cup
Location: Sweden | 1958 World Cup ball name: Top Star
The World Cup in 1962
Location: Chile | 1962 World Cup ball name: Santiago
Another disappointment for the World Cup ball. In 1962, a ball made locally (and by a French foreigner) was used in Chile. The problem is that the ball is easily emptied and a referee finally decides to reuse the Top Star model that had been introduced in Sweden four years earlier.
World Cup in 1966
Location: England | 1966 World Cup ball name: Challenge
The last ball before the adidas era. In 1966, in England, the Slazenger brand was the official supplier of the World Cup. The English brand, which is known for specializing in tennis, cricket or golf, surprises everyone by winning the contract and presents its Challenge 4-star ball with 25 panels.
The 1970 World Cup
Location: Mexico | World Cup 1970 name: Telstar
In 1970, adidas became the official partner of FIFA and the supplier of the ball for the World Cup. For its first competition, the three-band brand decided to draw inspiration from the Telstar telecommunications satellite (sent into orbit in 1962). While the Mondial 70 is widely broadcast in color, adidas decides to unveil an extremely visible 32-panel black and white ball. The most iconic ball in the history of football is born.
World Cup in 1974
Location: Germany | World Cup ball 1974 name: Telstar Durlast
The World Cup in 1978
Location: Argentina | World Cup ball 1978 name: Tango Rosario
In 1978, in Argentina, Telstar made way for Tango. Visually different, the ball also has the special feature of having been used during the Olympic Games and the various European Championships until 1988.
The 1982 World Cup
Location: Spain | World Cup 1982 name: Tango Espana
The 1986 World Cup
Location: Mexico | World Cup 1986 name: Azteca
In 1986, adidas increased its commitment to World Cup ball design and technology. With the Azteca model, for example, the German brand stops the presence of leather, which was historic but which had the defect to absorb water. Instead, Azteca is made of 100% synthetic in addition to being covered with polyethylene for more resistance, impermeability and dimensionality. A good idea for a World Cup which is played on the heights of Mexico.
In addition to the technological aspect, adidas gives a nice nod to the host country with Aztec designs all over the ball.
The World Cup in 1990
Location: Italy | World Cup ball in 1990 name: Etrusco Unico
Four years later, adidas unveils the Etrusco Unico ball, which pays homage to the Etruscan theme, the people who lived in the middle of the Italian peninsula from the 9th.and at Ieh century BC J.-C.
The 1994 World Cup
Location: USA | World Cup ball 1994 name: Questra
In 1994, when the World Cup took place in the United States and FIFA wanted to make “football” popular, adidas modified the ball to give football a spectacular side. For this, a layer of polystyrene foam must provide power and acceleration during strikes. The shots are so faster and especially the more fluid ranges.
1998 World Cup
Location: France | World Cup ball 1998 name: Tricolore
How do you forget that? Identical to the ball from 1994, 1998 Tricolore is characterized by the disappearance of the black and white mix and the presence of the colors on the French flag.
The World Cup in 2002
Location: Japan / South Korea | 2002 World Cup ball name: Fevernova
Probably the most “Nike” of adidas balls! Unfortunately known for being highly criticized for its lightness, the 2002 Fevernova nonetheless stands out for its rather incredible design for adidas, which was directly inspired by Asian culture.
World Cup 2006
Location: Germany | World Cup 2006 name: Teamgeist
We may not know enough, but the ball for the World Cup in 2006 was obviously thought and designed by adidas, but also by Molten! Active in the process of creating this football, the Japanese brand participated in the installation of the 14 Teamgeist panels, which replaced the 32 of the old versions. Moreover, these panels were no longer sewn, but heat sealed. A new era.
World Cup 2010
Location: South Africa | World Cup 2010 name: Jabulani
From the fourteen panels in Germany to the eight panels of the African Jabulani. For this World Cup in South Africa, adidas brings new technological ideas, but also an increasingly powerful design. If the German brand had sought to work on the concept of the aerodynamics of this ball, it would also have relied on an important academic contribution as it had been developed in collaboration with researchers from the University of Loughborough in the United Kingdom. This had not prevented the various actors from complaining about his courses …
World Cup Ball 2014
Location: Brazil | World Cup ball 2014 name: Brazuca
Once again, adidas goes a step further with the World Cup in Brazil. With the Brazuca ball, the German brand is increased to six, the number of panels. To solve the problems in 2010, Brazuca had new technologies that were then closer to the ball in the Champions League final in 2013.
World Cup ball 2018
Location: Russia | World Cup ball 2018 name: Telstar
From Telstar in 1970 to Telstar in 2018, almost everything has changed in the world of football. Although the graphics are directly inspired by the first adidas World Cup ball, the technologies are still innovative as adidas integrates an NFC chip into each ball for the first time. This chip then allows consumers to interact with the ball using a smartphone. On the technology side, there are six glued panels with no visible seams and with a 3D texture to enhance the ball’s touch and grip.
World Cup Ball 2022
Location: Qatar | World Cup 2022 ball name:?
What does adidas have in store for us on the new ball for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar? New technologies, that’s for sure! New design, of course. It remains to be seen what this new ball will be made of and what it will tell us about the future of football at adidas.