As 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ fast approaches and the last wave of countries still battling for qualification prepare to take the field and find out their fates this month, the world awaits the Dec. 6 draw in Bahia and the unveiling of the adidas Brazuca, the official match ball for the tournament.
The latest signature soccer sphere, named for the Brazilian way of life and national pride, will be adidas’ 12th FIFA World Cup™ ball. In its honor, SOCCER.COM is taking a look back at the previous 11 balls and the games and players that made history while kicking them.
1970 FIFA World Cup Mexico
The ball: Telstar Durlast
The winner: Brazil
The runners-up: Italy
The difference maker: It’s easy to recall Pele’s individual brilliance for Brazil in his last World Cup™, especially his goal to open the scoring in the final and his two assists to follow, but the 1970 tournament was defined by the entire Seleção. Still regarded as one of the greatest national sides ever assembled, Brazil was invincible after pairing Pele with fellow world-beaters Carlos Alberto, Rivelino and Jairzinho, the only man to ever score in every finals match, among others. They won all six qualifying and all six finals contests convincingly.
The lasting memory: adidas couldn’t have dreamed of a better tournament for its first World Cup™ ball. Named after a communications satellite launched from Florida and a pop instrumental hit, the Telstar and its 32 panels with black and white hexagons is the most iconic ball ever produced.
It was used in magical matches in Mexico that are still regarded as the best finals in the history of the competition, with free-flowing soccer leading to the highest goals per game average for a single tournament, 2.97. It was a tournament of firsts. The finals had never before been held outside of Europe or South America. It was the first time the World Cup™ was broadcast worldwide in color, and also brought along the advent of red and yellow cards.