This year, the ball shouldn’t have that kind of impact on which team wins the World Cup. In wind tunnel tests, Goff found that Telstar 18 has a very similar aerodynamic profile to the 2014 Brazuca ball, which flew without the wobbles of the Jabulani. The Jabulani was the first ball to have six seams and despite having a roughened surface, it was too smooth, says Goff. When the Brazuca was released, it had 68 percent more seams than the Jabulani to help change the airflow around the ball. The Telstar 18 is even more improved. Instead of transitioning to laminar flow in the middle of free kicks, Goff found that the Telstar 18 goes through its drag crisis at a lower speed of 38 miles an hour.
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Crafted by Adidas, the Telstar 18 is the official ball of the FIFA World Cup. Drawing inspiration from the company's first World Cup match ball, which debuted at the 1970 tournament in Mexico, the new ball reimagines the 12 black panels on an otherwise white design. Fun fact: the iconic original black and white ball was made that way to be more visible for black-and-white TV viewers, and it was dubbed the "star of television."
Every four years there’s a new ball for the World Cup—and every four years players are unhappy with it. Maybe it’s too light and has too much lift, like the 2002 Fevernova. Or maybe it wobbles unexpectedly in the air, making it harder for goalies to predict its motion, like the 2006 Teamgist. Or maybe the ball suddenly changes speed, dropping out of the air and causing accidental handballs, like the 2010 Jabulani.
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On the other hand, replicas (sometimes called training balls or gliders) are designed to be just like the official match balls but are much cheaper. Their panels are often stitched rather than thermally-bonded and are made of a different material. However, they’re not necessarily less durable than official match balls. So, they’re the recommended option for most players. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j2Xn84L3Kcs
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