April 11, 2006

What a load of old balls: - the official World Cup match ball has changed design over the years. This year, the World Cup finals will be played using he official Adidas 'Teamgeist' ball . Its design is said to be revolutionary and "to produce greater precision than other balls, making ball control and distribution 30 per cent more accurate." The final itself will be played with a gold-coloured version that the winners will be entitled to use in all matches for the next four years.

posted by JJ to soccer at 04:28 AM - 19 comments

When I was seven and Gerry Armstrong scored for Northern Ireland to beat Spain in the 1982 World Cup in Spain, there was nothing more important to me than getting my grubby little hands on a Tango Espana. There's more about the history of the World Cup match balls here [.pdf].

posted by JJ at 04:49 AM on April 11, 2006

This gold-coloured ball for the final is a bit of a daft idea. As The Times article says, it's not like World Cup Winners need a different coloured football to emphasise their achievement.

posted by squealy at 04:50 AM on April 11, 2006

It's just one more thing aimed at hyping up the English: "We've got Golden Balls [miniclip] on our team and the final will be played with a golden ball! We must win!"... and then they'd start singing about "coming home" before going home.

posted by JJ at 05:30 AM on April 11, 2006

I like the idea.

posted by salmacis at 07:04 AM on April 11, 2006


posted by JJ at 07:35 AM on April 11, 2006

I always thought this kind of thing was at best unnecessary, and at worse totally ludicrous. My god - after several hundred years we STILL have yet to perfect a damn soccer ball? Besides, everyone knows it's all in the shoes anyway. Somebody named Nike told me.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 07:55 AM on April 11, 2006

For me, this is the most iconic football ever. It just looks cool.

posted by afx237vi at 08:26 AM on April 11, 2006

afx237vi - it's certainly what you'd draw if someone asked you to draw a picture of a football from memory, isn't it? Interesting to learn the black and white colour combo was to make it easier to see on black and white TV.

posted by JJ at 08:58 AM on April 11, 2006

I just bought this one last week. Now is a good time to buy a $300 ball for $50. Interesting article, full of investigative insight, like this: Teamgeist — “team spirit” — is said to produce greater precision than other balls, making ball control and distribution 30 per cent more accurate. Cunningly, the ball achieves this by virtue of being round. Classic. And you're right about the Mexico ball, afx237vi. For me that's about as perfect as a ball gets. Show of hands. Who's slept with their football as a wee tike?

posted by Texan_lost_in_NY at 10:38 AM on April 11, 2006


posted by JJ at 12:00 PM on April 11, 2006

Not me. (I slept with my goalie stick.) But I think I can relate. I really don't want to be the first Rorschach patient in this thread to say that the new design looks kind of like.,.. well, like a sanitary napkin. But -- yeah. Another tangentially related rant: Whenever I hear the word "revolutionary" in ad copy, I wonder when that revolution happened, and how cataclysmic it had to have been to be called an actual revolution instead of merely a significant development or some other kind of technological advance. (You remember the Teamgeist Revolution? Oh, the wars that were fought, the towns leveled, the blood spilt upon the ground, the societies that were created from clay to supplant those who were forced out of existence, and all over the change from a round ball to another allegedly even rounder one!) If anyone needs me, I'll be in the corner, humming the Internationale and playing keepy-uppy in my living room.

posted by chicobangs at 01:02 PM on April 11, 2006

My god...i just can't get enough about this sport.

posted by StarFucker at 01:26 PM on April 11, 2006

So does this revolutionary new ball retain the "thicker inner layers" innovation from the 2002 ball? And did anyone else notice that MLS are using it too? Not that these teams, which can't even make it to the CONCACAF Champions Cup finals, need the help.

posted by billsaysthis at 03:13 PM on April 11, 2006

The orange Belisha Beacon ones that were once used in English First Division matches. Now they were a man's balls.

posted by owlhouse at 04:36 PM on April 11, 2006

Some man; some balls. Surely they made it more round precisely so that it would be more revolutionary, no? And while I'm picking holes - surely it's more 'spherical' - or are they playing with 2d balls this year? [confession - have often slept with my putter]

posted by JJ at 06:10 PM on April 11, 2006

I've heard of golden rod. Now if we incorporate that with golden balls.....every young girls dream!!!!

posted by joromu at 06:56 PM on April 11, 2006

hmmm, seems to me that if (t)raditional 32 panel hand stitched balls have a wider target zone meaning accuracy is hard to consistantly achieve that it (the traditional design) would REWARD the more consistent, accurate player. Does this mean that the new design is more forgiving of mis-hits? Also, with fewer seams and corners, does this means that it will be more stable in flight and, thus, harder to curl? Again, this seems to limit the advantage that a more accurate kicker would have. Granted, my experience in soccer (sorry, football) is limited to weekend pickup games, and assisting in coaching my daughters AYSO team. But those are the ponts that a very casual lay-observer comes away with.

posted by elovrich at 07:59 PM on April 11, 2006

I just think Schevchenko will look pretty cool dribbling a gold ball for the next four years. Go UKRAINE!!!!!!!!!!!

posted by im050483 at 01:56 PM on April 12, 2006

Chicobangs, that observation of yours cracked me up.

posted by Venicemenace at 10:02 PM on April 12, 2006

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