Our analysts unveil the new adidas Brazuca ball – which translates as ‘Brazilian’ in Portuguese, to describe the Brazilian way of life – on December 16.
SO WHAT DOES ‘BRAZUCA’ MEAN?
The ball was named Brazuca in September 2012 following a public vote in Brazil involving one million football fans.
The term ‘Brazuca’ is an informal word meaning ‘Brazilian’ and describes the Brazilian way of life.
The colours of the ball reflect those of the Brazilian flag and tournament logo, while the design is a representation of the colourful wristbands that Brazilians often wear.
Instead they must field the Nike Ordem ball that was launched on the eve of Tuesday’s Brazuca presentation in an internet video featuring Wayne Rooney and Rory McIlroy.
Brazil, France, Portugal, USA, Holland, South Korea, Australia and Croatia must also use the ball in their international friendlies leading towards the World Cup and it will be used in the Premier League in the New Year.
It means German-based players will have a six-month advantage with the colourful samba-inspired Brazuca, which will be rolled out in the Bundesliga next month.
‘When you play with different balls in training or a match, having it weeks and months before the tournament is really important,’ said Arsenal forward Lukas Podolski, who will get to play with it on Germany duty.
It is possible that England will train with the World Cup ball behind-closed-doors before their next game against Denmark in March.
But the Brazuca ball will be familiar to a number of top stars as many have already played with it over the past two-and-a-half years.
It is adidas’ most tested football ever and a series of extensive testing has been carried out to ensure it exceeds FIFA regulations, following the controversy caused by the ill-fated Jabulani in 2010, when players panned the tournament match ball.
Michael Carrick compared it to a ‘beach ball’, Daniel Agger said it made players ‘look like drunken sailors’ and Julio Cesar claimed it was ‘like a ball from a supermarket’.
‘We are still proud of Jabulani,’ Matthias Mecking, adidas’ business unit director, told Sportsmail at an exclusive test event in Germany.
‘It was, at that time, the most technically advanced ball.
‘But we always look to evolve our products so our benchmark for the Bruzuaca was not the Jabulani, it was the Tango [Euro 2012 ball].
‘It will feel similar to balls they are used to playing with but the technological changes we have made will provide improved grip, touch, stability and aerodynamics on the pitch.’
‘It’s increased my levels of excitement even further and I honestly cannot wait for the opening game!’
The Brazuca has already been used in 10 countries by 30 teams, with 600 players involved in the trialling.
Clubs involved in testing included AC Milan, Bayern Munich, Palmeiras and Fluminese and it was even disguised during the recent Under 20 World Cup and February’s friendly between Sweden and Argentina.
Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi, who played in that match, said: ‘My first impression of the ball is that it’s really good.’
The ball was revealed on Tuesday night with a spectacular 3D light projection launch event held at the iconic Parque Lage in Rio de Janeiro, with World Cup winner Cafu attending along with legendary Holland midfielder Clarence Seedorf and Brazil striker Fred.
Captain of the reigning world champions Spain, Iker Casillas, was critical of the Jubalani almost four years ago but now admits he is looking forward to the prospect of playing with the Brazuca.
‘Now the ball has been launched the tournament feels a lot closer,’ he said.
‘I’m looking forward to playing in Brazil with a great ball. Hopefully with Brazuca we can get the same result as in 2010.’
Brazilian star Dani Alves added: ‘We’re going to have a lot of fun with it. Most importantly it plays well on the ground and in the air.
England captain Gerrard was one of 287 players who were interviewed about the ball and believes it will be universally popular this time, likening it to one that’s used in the Champions League.
‘The sign of a good ball is when no one really talks about it,’ said the Liverpool midfielder.
‘I don’t think anyone will have anything negative to say about Brazuca. I think the feedback from players will be really positive.
‘It’s very true and reliable, and those are the two most important things I want from a ball.
‘The Champions League ball has always been a big favourite among the players because of how reliable it is. Brazuca’s very similar and I think the players will be very happy about that.’
BRAZUCA FACT FILE
- Weighs 437grams
- Circumference 69cm
- Rebound 141cm
- Loss of pressure 7%
- Water absorption 0.2%
- Altitude 0-1600m
- Tested over 2.5 years
- 600 players involved
- 287 players interviewed (30% non-adidas players)
- Six-panel shape
- Patched carcass
- Butyl bladder
- PU based foam material
- 2D thermal bonding
- All-over regular texture