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BRAZIL 2014 - No excuses: Players helped develop World Cup ball

Published:Thursday | June 5, 2014 | 12:00 AM

BERLIN (AP):

Players were consulted extensively in the development of the World Cup ball, meaning they should be less likely to commit on-pitch blunders in Brazil.

German manufacturer adidas says the 'Brazuca' was tested by more than 600 of the world's top players and 30 teams in 10 countries over two and a half years.

"We can proudly say this is by far the most tested ball we've ever produced," adidas business director for football hardware Matthias Mecking told The Associated Press in a telephone interview yesterday.

Among the players involved in the testing process were Lionel Messi, Iker Casillas, Bastian Schweinsteiger and 1998 World Cup winner Zinedine Zidane.

"For us, the most important thing is what the players tell us, what the players want. The players will tell you they want a 'reliable and fair' ball. One statement nearly all players make is, 'I want the ball to do what I plan to do with it'," Mecking said. "The feedback has been very positive."

Adidas also manufactured the 2010 World Cup ball, named Jabulani, but it received heavy criticism from many players before the tournament. They said it was too unpredictable.

Casillas, one of the ball's most vocal critics, then went on to win the World Cup with Spain, and Mecking said much of the feedback from players after the tournament in South Africa was quite positive.

"We're still very proud of that ball. At the time, it was our most advanced ball technically and it was our most successful World Cup ball to date," Mecking said.

Fewer mistakes

When it came to developing the Brazuca, however, adidas used the Euro 2012 ball, the Tango, and the popular Champions League ball as its benchmark.

"The key new part is in the construction of the outer layer, made of six panels - fewer than ever before - with each panel exactly the same shape or geometry. This means the ball is much more accurate, much more consistent, and should allow for fewer mistakes," Mecking said.

The star or propeller shaped panels interlock perfectly, and seams all over the ball give it added stability in the air.

"It helps with overall consistency and accuracy," Mecking said.

World Cup Facts

  • The record number of appearances in World Cup matches is 25, held by German footballer Lothar Matthaus.
  • The
    fastest goal in the world was scored by Turkey's Hasan Sukur, 11
    seconds into the game against South Korea in the 2002 World Cup.