ADIDAS REVEALS THE BRAZUCA, A WORLD CUP SOCCER BALL TWO AND A HALF YEARS IN THE MAKING


The Brazuca features a striking new design and new panel system. Six identical interlocking panels make up the ball's synthetic surface, thermally bonded to keep out moisture. The playful, swirling shapes look like four-armed starfish, outlined in various shades of blue, orange and green, colors that evoke Brazilian wish bands, a popular bracelet. 
"The official match balls are not an easy product," says Antonio Zea, Adidas' director of soccer innovation. "You're trying to create newness in a product and have it be well accepted. You can change too much or not enough."
The Jabulani, the ball from the 2010 Cup in South Africa, was the source of considerable controversy. Players griped that it felt too light, flew unpredictably, and traveled too fast through the air--at least from the perspective of flailing goalkeepers. The Brazuca uses two fewer panels than the Jabulani did, which Adidas says makes for better aerodynamics--straighter flight--not necessarily more speed.