By Tim Newcomb
May 29, 2014

Forget any notion of a 32-paneled soccer ball, true stitching or black-and-white design. The Brazuca, the official adidas-made match ball for World Cup 2014, engineers roundness well beyond tradition.

For the first time, the ball will feature only six panels, created in symmetrical interlocking and thermally bonded propeller shapes for increased control and stable flight.

Brazuca, meaning “inherently Brazilian,” entered the public eye with a red, blue and green flowing design in late 2013. But just two weeks before the opening match, adidas rolled out the fresh design for the World Cup Final ball, a green and yellow design exclusively for the championship match in Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro.

Before we got the coloring, though, adidas wanted to avoid the Jabulani disaster of 2010—the eight-panel ball, down from 14 panels four years prior, knuckled in the air due to its seaming pattern and proved a disaster—and secretly tested the ball with over 600 athletes and during the U20 World Cup.

The final test, however, starts on June 12 in Brazil.

Tim Newcomb covers stadiums, design and gear for Sports Illustrated. Follow him on Twitter at @tdnewcomb.

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