Football World Cup 2010 is approaching soon. It’s in June. For the first time ever the greatest show on earth is holding in Africa. It will be the highest earning football world cup for FIFA. The prize money has been increased 60% also. It’s also unique in another sense. The FIFA 2010 World Cup will be the most techie football tournament the world will ever see.
Adidas will be all over the World Cup. The official ball of the tournament will be made by Adidas. They named it the Jabulani. The ball isn’t stitched together—it’s thermally bonded. It’s also the roundest ball ever created for a World Cup. You never really think about how much engineering goes into producing a ball like this. The ball is composed of eight 3D, thermally bonded panels. That last part, the thermally bonded business, is key, as that means the ball isn’t merely stitched together on a sewing machine or whatever. That would lead to leaky seams, which would lead to a water-logged ball. And you can buy the ball for $140.
Let’s move on from the ball for now. Adidas will also create the full kits (“jerseys”) of 12 countries, including hosts South Africa; traditional European powers like Germany, France, and Spain; South American tricksters Argentina and Team USA’s immortal sporting enemy, Mexico.
Take a look at this video, showing France’s Nicolas Anelka scoring against Ireland in a World Cup qualifier from this past November. Here’s a pictures also.
You see those weird little criss-cross straps? That’s called TechFit, a type of elastic compression layer that, according to Adidas’ own numbers, helps increase a player’s vertical leap, speed, and endurance. That’s because the straps store energy that would otherwise be lost as the player moves about. The number increase—players’ power increases by 5.3 percent, vertical leap by 4 percent, sprint speed by 1.1 percent and endurance by 0.8 percent—may not seem like a lot, but when you’re dealing with top-class athletes performing in high-pressure situations, numbers like that help immensely. Imagine David Villa being able to strike a ball 5.3 percent harder than he normally would, or Michael Ballack being able to jump 4 percent higher to nick that header, or Leo Messi running 1.1 percent faster—it’s crazy.
Even the shoes got an overhaul for South Africa this year. One of the all-time stories in World Cup history is when Germany beat Hungary 3-2 in the final of the 1954 World Cup. Germany and Hungary were pretty big rivals at the time, and Germany was looking to avenge an 8-3 loss that had occurred in the first round of the tournament. Adidas’ founder, Adi Dassler, was the German team’s equipment manager, and had provided the team with new (at the time) cleats with removable studs. Did those new cleats help the German team overcome its rivals?
So, this year’s cleats! One of the fancier shoes that Adidas’ players will be using is the Predator X. (I love the names for these things.) Apparently Zidane helped to design them, so you know they’re quality. Obviously it’s lightweight—that’s a given—but one thing worth mentioning is something called the Powerspine. It’s a small strip that runs down the mid-foot area that helped stabilize your feet. That helps reduce the occurrence of injuries, like a torn ACL.
I am pretty much excited about the tournament. and it’s neat to see how much science and engineering goes into creating all the various pieces of equipment used by the teams.