Adidas has been the FIFA World Cup Official Match Ball supplier since 1970. In the 2014 World Cup the ball is called Brazuca, which means someone born in Brazil or something made in Brazil, but is also used to describe national pride in anything with a Brazilian nature. Incidentally, the Brazuca of the 2014 World Cup is made in Pakistan and, interestingly from plastic product design perspective, of TPU. Here is a fascinating video of the process:
In the South African World Cup, four years earlier, the ball was named Jabulani, meaning “to celebrate” in the Zulu language. The material then, in addition to TPU, was EVA. (The first entirely synthetic ball, by the way, replacing water-absorbing leather as the material, was used in Mexico in 1986). There were also a differences in the ways the balls were processed. As we saw on the video, the outer layer of the Brazuca consists of narrow slices that follow the 3-D surface of the ball without any preforming. In the video below, we can see that the larger panels of the Jabulani are thermally formed before joining them to each other.
The third video I ran into is about Adidas ball testing. The devices obviously are not off-the-shelf. Some great slow motion scenes are also worth seeing.
It’s been a great tournament so far. Enjoy watching the games!