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A Brief History of the World Cup Soccer Ball

 Unveiled last week in Brazil, the new World Cup ball continues the tradition of Adidas providing the cup ball since 1970. Brazuca, meaning inherently Brazilian, features six propeller-shaped symmetrically interlocking panels. Adidas engineers say the six-panel design improves aerodynamic continuity and flight speed. The ball was secretly tested in the U-20 World Cup.

While a World Cup ball once offered as many as 32 panels, that number has diminished over the years. By the 2006 German World Cup, the balls were down to 14 panels; 2010 in South Africa saw eight. Antonio Zea, Adidas's director of soccer, says reducing panels to six for 2014 is "all about seam geometry and how we create seams."

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