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The Evolution of the Soccer Ball


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The 1970 World Cup was broadcast by satellite in both Europe and the Americas, and the Telstar Durlast was designed to be television friendly. The enduring black-and-white pattern was said to improve visibility on black-and-white sets.

The construction of the ball was innovative as well. Older balls, with horizontal and vertical stripes, resembled volleyballs. Adi Dassler, a founder of Adidas, broke away by choosing a 32-panel design that made the ball more spherical, allowing for improved ball control.

The new construction set the standard for the next three decades of World Cup balls, with leather eventually giving way to synthetics. Meanwhile, Adidas has provided the ball for every tournament since 1970.

photo-1970.jpgAP Photo

Brazil’s Pelé with the Telstar in a match against England, 1970, the year in which Pelé cemented his reputation as one of the greatest players of all time.

  • ball-1974.jpg
  • GERMANY1974Telstar Durlast
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  • ball-1978.jpg
  • ARGENTINA1978Tango River Plate
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  • ball-1982.jpg
  • SPAIN1982Tango España
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  • ball-1986.jpg
  • MEXICO1986Azteca
  • ball-1990.jpg

    ITALY1990Etrusco Unico

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  • ball-1994.jpg
  • UNITED STATES1994Questra
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  • ball-1998.jpg
  • FRANCE1998Tricolore
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  • ball-2002.jpg
  • KOREA/JAPAN2002Fevernova

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