adidas got involved, making its first World Cup sphere seven years after it started building balls. For their first act, adidas developed the iconic black-and-white paneled soccer ball. It was the first multicolor ball used in the event and was intended the catch the eyes of TV viewers. The FIFA World Cup 1970 was the first to be broadcast on live television, and the black and white panels catered to pre-color televisions. The black pentagons also helped players recognize the swerve and flight of the ball.
The Durlast lasts awhile longer. adidas did a good thing. FIFA stuck with it. Other than the addition of text—the name of the ball, event, manufacturer and where its made—they didn't mess with success, staying with the same materials and process. They also made an all-white version of the Telstar, the adidas Chile, as an homage to the ball used in World Cup 1962.
adidas set a new trend with the Tango in introducing "triads," a graphic of 20 panels that together formed a dozen identical circles, though the ball was actually made of 32 panels. Inspired by the elegance, passion and emotion of Argentines, the Tango and its triad design would go on to be the basis for the next five World Cup balls and also be used at the Olympics and UEFA Euro 1980.
The new Tango was more water-resistant thanks to a polyurethane coat and rubber on the seams which played bouncer to water's wishes to seep into the core. The Tango España is also historic because it's the last time the World Cup was contested with a ball made of 100 percent genuine leather.
Enter the synthetic, polyurethane-coated ball and its rain resistance. The triads endured, and the circles were decorated in Aztec style, a nice touch. The ball was a massive leap forward in its ability to stay dry and maintain its shape on a hard ground or at high altitude.
Out with the Aztec design, in with the fine art of the Etruscans of ancient Italy. Three Estruscan lion heads adorned each of the triads. Internal polyurethane foam created a lighter ball that rebounded well, and the synthetic fiber manufacturing prevented tearing while keeping the ball tight and free from being waterlogged.
The "quest of the stars" ball had an otherworldly inspired triad design and improvements in acceleration, water prevention, softness and ability to be controlled. Made from five materials and wrapped in polystyrene foam, the Questra was tighter, lighter and more responsive. It took its inspiration from the Apollo 11 mission and high-speed rockets.
You probably guessed it from the name, but this is the first multi-colored—red, white and blue to honor France-ball in World Cup history. Gas-filled bubbles inside afforded a supple touch. The ball was even softer and faster than the Questra thanks to a new foam layer. It was the first ball made outside of Europe, having been produced in Morocco and Indonesia.
The Tango's patented triad design is abandoned in favor of an Asian-inspired golden orb with red flames, a nod to South Korea and Japan's effort and energy to host the event. Extremely lightweight, the ball featured a three-layer knitted chassis with even energy distribution at each point to give players accuracy when making long passes.
The +Teamgeist, meaning "team spirit" in German, used glue instead of hand stitching and 14 curved panels instead of the 32 that had been in place since 1970. The new panel design created a rounder, more predictable ball. adidas also innovated in printing the match date, teams, stadium name and kickoff time for each contest. The ball for the final was decorated with gold accents. It was the first thermally bonded World Cup ball.
After departing from the 32 panels in the previous World Cup, adidas went with even fewer panels this time, just eight thermally bonded and molded this time. adidas also introduced "Grip 'n' Groove" technology, a textured surface to improve ball flight. Goalkeepers complained about the dip and swerve the ball facilitated. Goalscorers reveled. The design used 11 different colors, a nod to the 11 players on the field and the 11 languages spoken in South Africa. Jabulani means, "to celebrate," in Zulu. A gold version was used in the final, again.