In Brazil, there's a saying that all Brazilian babies are "born with a ball at their feet."
Well, that saying became a reality on Tuesday, when every Brazilian born that day was gifted a "Brazuca." At least, that's the promise Adidas made when it officially unveiled the Brazuca, the official game ball of next year's World Cup in Brazil.
And it's a pretty funky ball.
It uses the same bladder as the Tango 12 ball used at Euro 2012. However, there are six panels rather than eight and a new sort of rippled surface.
Seems like a great marketing ploy, to put out a new soccer ball every four years. And it is great business. The official Brazuca World Cup match ball will retail in the US for more than $100. However, each new iteration of the ball has also revolutionized the ball and the game.
Adidas started designing official World Cup match balls in 1970. You might just recognize the 1970 Telstar ball with its iconic black and white pentagons and hexagons. The black and white pattern was invented to make the ball more easily visible on television.
Before 1970, soccer balls were made of leather strips, which were extremely heavy and very clunky when they got wet.
The match ball has also been a continuous source of criticism by players. Spain's goalkeeper Iker Casillas criticized the 2010 official match ball, the Jabulani, as "rotten," even though Spain won the 2010 World Cup. So far, the Brazuca has quelled critics like Mr. Casillas, who was part of the group of select players who got to test the new ball.
"I'm looking forward to playing in Brazil with a great ball," Casillas said, "Hopefully with Brazuca, we can get the same result as in 2010."
And if you are wondering about the name of the ball? The word "brazuca'' has a double meaning in Brazil. It's a word for Brazilians living abroad — which includes many Brazilian footballers. And it's slang term to describe Brazilian national pride. Nice.