Will this 'Brazuca' fire, come June?
RIO DE JANEIRO
THE new ball for next year's World Cup - called the Brazuca, in honour of Brazil, of course - was unveiled with much fanfare at a ceremony in Rio de Janeiro on Tuesday.
The word "Brazuca" has a double meaning, used as a term for Brazilians living abroad - including its many footballers - but also as slang used to describe national pride or anything "Brazilianish".
Manufacturer adidas said the ball offers "breakthrough innovation" featuring what it calls a "revolutionary six-panel design". The ball is decorated with a ribbon design in shades of blue, gold and green, which adidas said symbolises the traditional "wish bracelets" worn in Brazil.
But will it be a hit?
Some World Cup balls are more popular than others, with players often complaining about the feel of a new ball or the way it moves in the air.
Goalkeepers often say they have trouble tracking the new models, which seem to move faster at every World Cup tournament.
The adidas-manufactured Jabulani ball for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa was criticised heavily by some players, who said its movements were unpredictable.
The Brazuca makes its real debut on June 12 in the opening game in Sao Paulo, and will be used until the July 13 final in Rio de Janeiro.