Flags will fly, anthems will be sung, and dreams will be made at the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
And while 32 nations comprising 736 of the best soccer players in the world will convene on Russia this summer, there will be only one ball used during the festivities. Well, one brand of ball that’s been re-produced thousands of times.
An icon reinvented.
Introducing: #Telstar18 ⚽️
The Official Match Ball for the 2018 @FIFAWorldCup.#HereToCreate pic.twitter.com/diMbkocfZS
— adidas Football (@adidasfootball) November 9, 2017
The Adidas Telstar 18 – the result of millions of dollars and many years of research – is the official match ball of the 2018 World Cup.
Let’s get to know it better.
From whence it came
The original Telstar – named after its resemblance to a communications satellite from the 1960s – made its debut at the 1970 World Cup, and brought with it the familiar black-and-white design of pentagons and hexagons stitched together most any soccer fan is familiar with. The goal was to create a ball that would stand out on colourless TVs, which were the style at the time.
This year’s edition pays homage to its predecessor with a black and white design, though advances in production technology have allowed for a more intricate, pixelated pattern – a supposed allusion to what the original would look like in motion.
The ball is made of just six glued panels, as opposed to the 32 that were stitched together to make the original Telstar, giving it a more predictable feel.
2018 World Cup coverage on Sportsnet
The FIFA World Cup in Russia runs from June 14 to July 15, and Sportsnet.ca will have in-depth daily coverage.
Daily news & feature stories
| Match schedule
| Group standings
| Team profiles
| History of the World Cup
Chip off the old block
While the Telstar 18 embodies the look of the original World Cup ball, the insides have been given a modern boost. The ball comes with a chip embedded, which doesn’t seem to do much else other than unlock “challenges” for users who connect the ball to their devices (the details of which are murky and have yet to be fully announced, but think “how hard can you kick?” and stuff like that.)
The chip is also there to help users “enjoy an exclusive Adidas experience,” whatever that means.
The Telstar 18 was designed to leave as small a mark on our environment as possible, using recycled materials for the ball itself, as well as its packaging.
Just how much of the ball is made with reusable matter is still a mystery, though the Adidas website lists the ball’s composition as being 83 per cent thermoplastic polyurethane and 17 per cent polyester.
Nevertheless, it’s clear that this is a modern product inside and out.
How does she fly?
Much was made over the unpredictability over the Jabulani, the official ball of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. (Just check out its “criticism” section …read more