Trip Down Memory Lane: A look at All the Official World Cup Balls So Far

The World Cup is less than three weeks away and fans across the world cannot wait for the action to begin.


There are many traditions associated with the tournament and one of the most sacred is the announcement prior to every edition of the ball that will be in use in all matches.


So, in this article we go down memory lane and take a look at all the official balls used in the FIFA World Cup since the first edition of the tournament in 1930.

1. Tiento and T-Model (Year - 1930, Hosts - Uruguay)

There was no official ball for the first ever World Cup. But, before the start of the finals, the two finalists of the tournament argued over who would supply the ball for the final. 


The first half was played with the ball supplied by Argentina called "Tiento" and the second half was played with the ball supplied by the host nation, Uruguay, called "T-Model".


Argentina were leading at half-time, winning 2-1, before the ball change saw the hosts come back with a vengeance, scoring three goals in the second half to win the final 4-2.

2. Federdale 102 (Year - 1934, Hosts - Italy)

This World Cup was hosted by the Italians during the dictatorship of Benito Mussolini and was the second World Cup ever. 


This too wasn't the official ball for the tournament as footballs manufactured in England were imported too. Federdale 102 was produced by Mussolini's government.


A major upgrade on the first ball, the Federdale had cotton laces instead of leather, helping players head the ball with much more ease.

3. Allen (Year - 1938, Hosts - France)

The third World Cup was held in France and the balls used in this edition were called as "Allen." 


This ball was manufactured by Paris-based manufacturer Allen and with that they also became the first company to brand their balls for the World Cup.


Just like Federdale 102 in the previous edition, the 1938 edition World Cup balls also featured a cotton-stitched ball rather than leather.

4. Duplo T (Year - 1950, Hosts - Brazil)

The World Cup returned to South American soil and this time the hosts were Brazil. The fourth edition was hosted after a wait of 12 years due to World War II. 


The ball used was called "Duplo T" and had been used in the Argentine league for several years.


5. Swiss World Champion (Year - 1954, Hosts - Switzerland)

The fifth World Cup was hosted in Switzerland in the year 1954. As expected, the host nation provided the balls for the tournament and these balls were called "Swiss World Champion". 


They were manufactured by a company called Kost Sport which was based in Basel, but has now closed permanently. 


6. Top Star (Year - 1958, Hosts - Sweden)

The World Cup moved from one European country to another as Sweden took the responsibility of being the hosts. 


For this edition, FIFA invited several manufacturers to present their balls and they received 102 samples. They finally chose the "Top Star," manufactured by a company from Angelholm as the official ball. 

7. Crack (Year - 1962, Hosts - Chile)

A return to South America was on the cards as Chile hosted the 1962 edition of the World Cup.  Being the hosts, they decided to use "Crack" as the official ball. 


This ball though received a lot of complaints and this ball was not appreciated by the European teams. It was manufactured by a Chilean company Custodio Zamora.

8. Challenge 4 Star (Year - 1966, Hosts - England)

In the year 1966 the World Cup was hosted by England. The ball selected was "Challenge 4 star" and this was the first ball manufactured by a modern apparel brand, the manufacturers being Slazenger. 


This ball was selected from among the 111 balls that FIFA took accepted for testing and it clearly was lucky for the English team as they won the tournament for the first and only time in their history.

9. Telstar (Year - 1970, Hosts - Mexico)

Mexico became the latest South American country to host the World Cup in 1970. The official ball for this edition was the "Telstar" manufactured by Adidas. 


This particular ball performed so well that Adidas have been manufacturing the balls for the World Cup ever since. Another reason why this particular ball is also remembered very well is because this was the first time the World Cup was broadcast on television.

10. Telstar Durlast (Year - 1974, Hosts - West Germany)

West Germany was the next destination for the World Cup. Incidentally, it is also the home of Adidas.


With Telstar reaching out to many and gaining popularity, the company decided not to meddle with the design and other aspects much. The only change was the introduction of a coating given to the ball so that the ball could be protected and hold up when it rained.

11. Tango (Year - 1978, Hosts - Argentina)

Argentina hosted the World Cup for the first time in 1978 and Adidas introduced the "Tango" as the official ball for this edition of the tournament. 


This ball was named after the dance form Tango, which is very famous in Argentina. The design was also altered as the black and white panels were replaced with triangles in a circular pattern.

12. Tango Espana (Year - 1982, Hosts - Spain)

Spain hosted the World Cup for the first time in 1982 and Adidas decided to name the official ball for this edition as "Tango Espana." 


The design was not very different from the previous official ball, but Adidas introduced their three leaf logo on the ball for the first time, making it a landmark edition and occasion.

13. Azteca (Year - 1986, Hosts - Mexico)

Mexico hosted the World Cup for the second time in 1986 and the official ball for this edition was named as "Azteca" by Adidas. The design wasn't changed much either as the German manufacturers continued with the triangles in a circular pattern. 


The only change introduced was the design of the triangles, which were inspired by the Aztec architecture and murals to incorporate Mexican culture.

14. Etrusco Unico (Year - 1990, Hosts - Italy)

Italy became the second country to host the World Cup twice when they hosted the tournament in the year 1990. 


Adidas continued with the same pattern and theme of designing the ball according to the host nation. This time the triangles of the ball were decorated with the Etruscan lions and the ball was named as "Etrusco Unico".

15. Questra (Year - 1994, Hosts - USA)

United States of America hosted the World Cup for the first time as FIFA decided to host the tournament outside Europe and Latin America, as they started taking the sport global. 


Again, Adidas went ahead with their tradition and drew on elements of culture unique to the host nation. This time the theme was based on space travel, taking into account USA's position at the forefront in the field of space.

16. Tricolore (Year - 1998, Hosts - France)

France became the third country to host the World Cup more than once when they welcomed all the participating nations in 1998. 


This edition saw some major changes to the official ball as Adidas ditched their traditional black and white colour for the ball and introduced a combination of three colours - blue, red and white, to match the flag of the host nation France.


This was the first ever World Cup where coloured balls were used, making it the first of many editions that followed it.

17. Fevernova (Year - 2002, Hosts - South Korea and Japan)

The first World Cup of the 21st century was hosted in Asia by South Korea and Japan, making it the first ever edition of the tournament to be hosted in the continent. 


And with the change of the century, Adidas brought in some major changes to the design of the World Cup's official ball as well. 


The biggest change was that they ditched the Tango design and then introduced triangles with red, green and golden colours. 

18. Teamgeist (Year - 2006, Hosts - Germany)

Germany hosted the World Cup for the second time in their history and for first time since its unification in the year 2006. 


The official ball was named as "Teamgeist," meaning team spirit. Adidas continued their experimentation as they produced the most visually attractive football ever seen for the 2006 World Cup.

19. Jabulani (Year - 2010, Hosts -South Africa)

South Africa were the latest country to join the list of host countries in 2010 and became the first African country to host the mega event of world football. 


Adidas introduced "Jabulani" as the official ball for this World Cup. Little did they know that this ball would go on to become the most famous ball ever made, due to the number of controversies, complaints and comments passed on this ball by players and coaches alike. 

20. Brazuca (Year - 2014, Hosts - Brazil)

The World Cup returned to the land of samba after 63 years. The official ball for this edition was the "Brazuca," which is a slang word for "Brazilian." 


This time, the German manufacturers managed to attract less controversy as the World Cup went on smoothly without any complaints, with the hosts crashing out to eventual champions, Germany, in the semi-finals.

21. Telstar 18 (Year - 2018, Hosts - Russia)

The World Cup we are all waiting for so eagerly will be hosted by Russia and the official ball for this tournament will be "Telstar 18." 


Named after the official World Cup ball of 1970, Adidas have reverted to their traditional black and white colour for the ball, making it the first black and white World Cup ball since 1994. 


This is also the first time that Russia will be hosting the tournament, making the change in the colours of the ball a rather noteworthy aspect.

Looking at all the official World Cup balls used since the first edition in 1930