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The Adidas World Cup ball is inspired by NASA but it can’t last 90 minutes

We had the disaster of the Jabulani at the 2010 World Cup and now the latest ball controversy is upon us

This is Sunday league stuff.

The World Cup is well and truly underway and there has been no shortage of subplots in the tournament so far.

Own goals, set pieces and VAR controversy have been the order of play in Russia, along with one other bizarre occurrence – the ball keeps bursting.


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He passed the beach ball test CC: Liverpool

Getty Images - Getty
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He passed the beach ball test CC: Liverpool

No, we’re not talking about the ball that Brazilian goalkeeper Alisson brutal disposed of against Switzerland, we mean the official Adidas World Cup match ball.

You know, the £130 one…

How much?

AFP
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How much?

Normally, this sort of thing only happens in Sunday League football when the German Shepherd belonging to your team-mate’s Da, runs onto the pitch and has a good old gnaw of the ball.

It’s widely accepted on Hackney Marshes, however you don’t really expect it to happen on the world’s biggest stage.

A football that bursts when you kick it, not very practical, is it?

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A football that bursts when you kick it, not very practical, is it?

The Telstar 18 has burst as many as six times so far in the tournament, prompting wide-spread surprise from fans and embarrassment for Adidas.

The 2018 ball pays homage to and is modelled on the iconic original Telestar that was used at the Mexico World Cup in 1970.

A propa football

Alamy
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A propa football

The ball is inspired by NASA, with the original Telstar being a spherical satellite that was launched into Space in 1962.

The iconic satellite changed the history of live broadcasting, in particular giving football fans all around the globe access to watch live events like the World Cup happening in other continents.

The results of the Telstar 18 however have been anything but out of this world.

In their production of the ball, Adidas hoped to minimise any risk of repeating the disaster from the 2010 World Cup, when the now notorious Jabulani ball was the bane of goalkeepers.

Adidas claim that the ball was scientifically designed to cut out the amount of dip and swerve that players can put on it. Whatever that means.

There goes another one

Getty - Contributor
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There goes another one

The Telstar 18 is said to be man-made out of a material that is similar to that seen in medical strapping. The NHS is stretched enough, why are FIFA nicking their strapping?

When the ball burst twice in France’s 2-1 win over Australia in their opening Group C clash, it prompted a typically cynical response from BBC Sport co-commentator Mark Lawrenson.

The former footballer turned pundit claimed that the ball bursting showed how “you don’t get much for £49.99 these days.”

Trent Sainsbury burst the ball and forced the players to try something new today

Getty Images - Getty
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Trent Sainsbury burst the ball and forced the players to try something new today

The ball also cost Saudi Arabia a goal-scoring opportunity in their match against Uruguay, after the Telstar burst whilst they were on a good counter attack.

FIFA have moved swiftly to defend their product after the criticism, saying in a statement: “The Telstar 18 has been tested on every continent, in every climate and with over 600 professional players and more than 30 leading clubs and federations.

“We’re extremely confident in the ball and look forward to seeing it at the centre of the action throughout the tournament.”

Tested on every climate? Do me a favour

Getty - Contributor
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Tested on every climate? Do me a favour

Eagle-eyed viewers on Twitter have also spotted the latest controversy with the World Cup ball…

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