This year’s World Cup official ball will be the Telstar 18, a modern interpretation of the 1970 and 1974 adidas ball, Telstar.
The name was coined due to its black and white pentagons that made it easier to spot on television, which were black and white back then.
The Telstar 18 is the first since the Questra of 1994 to be predominantly black and white. It is also the first to have a micro-chip inside it. The Near-Field Communication chip enables users to interact with the ball.
In the first World Cup held in 1930, in Uruguay, there was no official ball. After failing to agree on who would provide the ball to be used in the final game, the finalists Argentina and Uruguay settled on each of the teams providing a ball for half of the game. Argentina supplied the ball that was used in the first half and Uruguay the second half.
It is believed that Uruguay’s T-Model ball used in the second half of the game propelled the hosts to victory due to its size and weight, which was unfamiliar to Argentina.
The Federdale 102 was the official match ball at the 1934 World Cup. It replaced the leather laces of previous balls with ones made of cotton, which was less bruising for players intending to head the ball. However, like its predecessors, its inflation was poor, with how much spherical a ball was being fully dependent on the inflator’s skill. The Duplo T of 1950 made huge progress, through the elimination of inflation experts as a result of having a closed leather sphere without laces.
The ball Tango that was used in the 1978 tournament had 20 panels, which was 12 less than the original Telstar. This design of the official balls in subsequent World Cups did not change until 2002.
But every ball design has always brought its own set of controversies, with players complaining about various aspects such as its weight. For instance, some players and goal goalkeepers claimed that the official ball of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa I was unpredictable in motion due to its smooth surface.
The jabulani (celebrate in Zulu) was round and more accurate than previous World Cup balls, and featured grip and groove technology to keep it stable in flight.
The Fifa World Cup trophy, introduced in 1974, is made of six kg 18-carat gold. Designed by Italian sculptor Silvio Gazzaniga and standing at 36cm high, the design is of two human figures holding up the earth, symbolising the moment of joy after winning. The lines between the human figures signify the energy of football. Unlike its predecessor, the original trophy is not taken home by any winning team. A gold-plated replica is provided instead, with the winner’s name and year engraved at the base of the original trophy.
West Germany was the first team to lift the trophy after a 2-1 win over Netherlands.
The previous design, the Jules Rimet Cup had a rough existence, from being hidden in a shoe-box under then Fifa Vice President Ottorino Barassi’s bed during the Second World War, to being stolen in 1966 in England, but later found in a rubbish dump a dog called Pickles. It would later be stolen again in 1983 from the Brazilian team to which it had been awarded for good after they won the trophy for the third time, never to be recovered.
Made of gold-plate sterling silver on lapis lazuli base, it was named after Fifa’s third President Jules Rimet for his crucial role in introducing the tournament to the world. Nicknamed Golden Goddess, the trophy depicted Nike, the ancient Greek goddess of victory, weighed about four kg and stood at 35cm high.
This year’s competition kicks off when hosts Russia play Saudi Arabia in Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium. After a total of 64 matches played in 12 venues across 11 different Russian cities, the champions will be crowned in the same arena on 15 July.