The 2014 FIFA world cup is scheduled to begin on the 12th of June and the buzz is building up each day. A major chunk of the buzz is about the official football of the World Cup made by Adidas, the Brazuca. The name combines the words Brasil (the host nation) and Bazooka. It is certainly as unique a football as its name and looks to be as impressive on the field as it is to behold.
Adidas was highly criticized for its design of the ‘Jabulani’ ball for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The ball changed direction in mid air and made players look like “drunken sailors” running around trying to keep up. The Brazuca is a welcome improvement. It’s look has contributed to its stability in the air. It has six X-shaped, bonded, polyurethane panels that allow for uniform drag force on all its sides. This claim was tested and verified by Japanese researchers who put the football in a wind tunnel and recorded the drag it experienced in different orientations; the results showed an apparent uniformity. The Jabulani however, showed little uniformity when subjected to the same test. The Cafusa, the official ball for the 2013 FIFA Federations Cup, also showed unidentical results in different orientations in the wind tunnel.
The footballs were also subjected to the roboboot, a robotic foot that kicked them in to a goal post 25 metres away. Again the Brazuca seemed to end up in the same place no matter which side it was kicked from and the Cafusa and the Jabulani changed direction depending on their orientations.
The Brazuca has quite a bit more to it than that. It’s water absorption percentage stands at 0.2% so rain won’t interfere with the game and it’s six panel design also allows for the ball to be a smooth sphere all around the surface.
Adidas has had this football tested over two and a half years by around 600 players and it seems to have paid off. One thing that the players won’t be worrying about on the field in June is how the ball is going to affect their game.