The World Cup finally started today with Germany and Costa Rica providing one of the better opening matches in recent memory. The official ball of the tournament, the Adidas Teamgeist (or "team spirit," which is unbelievably lame), is packed to the seams with well-researched hi-tech goodness.
Compared to most other soccer balls which have 26 or 32 sewn panels, the Teamgeist only has 14, making it far more smoother than ever before. This fact has goalkeepers going crazy since the smoother surface gives the ball a more unpredictable trajectory in the air. Translation: be on the lookout for what seem to be silly goalkeeping errors.
Backed by what Adidas calls "unprecedented" performance, the Teamgeist, which is supposedly the roundest soccer ball ever produced, is also nearly completely waterproof, thanks to a thermal bonding technology. Finally, FIFA rules state that balls must not have a more than 10 percent weight increase when wet; the Teamgeist far exceeds that requirement with less than .01 percent weight increase.
Now all FIFA and Adidas have to do is design the sport so Americans actually care about it.
Teamgeist World Cup 2006 [Soccer Ball World]
Product Page [Adidas]