The Belle Is the Ball

FIFA's World Cup May Be Boring--But the Soccer Ball Won't

Next to the Olympics, the Super Bowl and possibly any motor racing event in which somebody crashes, the World Cup is one of the most popular and most viewed sporting events on Earth. Few people realize, though, that the most interesting backstory of the World Cup often doesn’t belong to a team or an individual player, but to the sphere of leather they end up kicking around.

We’re not trying to be facetious or anything with that statement (mostly because we don’t know entirely what that word means). We genuinely mean that the World Cup ball is a work of engineering genius and that it’s also possibly haunted.

For example, the ball every player is going to be kicking around this year is a sexy little number called the “Brazuca” which was made by Adidas specifically for the competition. Now you’d think that making a World Cup ball would be as simple as grabbing a couple of thousand generic soccer balls and painting them the colors of the Brazilian flag and doubling the price, because who the hell cares, right? But as with most things in life, it’s just not that simple. For a start, every ball has to be exactly the same and as such, they’re held to a way higher standard of quality than the ones made out of fish leather and chewing gum they sell to us ordinary folk.

It’s partly for this reason that the Brazuca has spent more time being kicked by robotic feet than John Connor’s ancestors. As noted here, the Brazuca was designed from the ground up to cut through the air as cleanly as possible and it has been subjected to so many aerodynamic tests that kicking it hard enough into a university would probably get you a degree in physics. The people behind the ball have basically admitted that they were forced to start from “square one” when they began designing the Brazuca and that it has taken a lot of tests to get it right. In other words, this thing hasn’t even been used in a single game yet and it has already been experimented on more than Tony Stark’s chest. We weren’t kidding when we said this thing would be the most interesting thing on the pitch. If you still don’t believe us after that, wait until you hear about the ball they used for the 2010 World Cup.

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