John Foster reports from Brazil, with World Cup fever already gripping this ball-shaped planet of ours...
The official Brazil 2014 football was finally revealed to the media last night, with FIFA confirming that the branded Brazuca that will be used at the tournament next summer will be in the shape of a ball.
“You won’t believe your eyes when you see the brand-new Brazuca ball,” a statement revealed. “What is it? Is it a ball? Yes, it’s a ball.”
“The ratio of the distance of its points from two fixed points is constant”, the statement continued. “It has constant width, constant girth, and constant positive Gaussian curvature. There can be no doubt that this ball is a ball.”
The spherical ball has met with a generally positive response from players and pundits, with Brazil and Barcelona full-back Dani Alves commenting that, much like previous footballs, this football was “a football”.
“My first impression of Brazuca is that it is a ball,” Alves told FourFourTwo. It’s great to see FIFA keeping up the tradition of ball-shaped footballs, which have always been an important part of the Brazilian way of playing.”
Goalkeepers were also keen to praise the properties of the spherical ball.
“It is easier to judge the flight of a ball than, for example, a shuttlecock, or an oboe,” said Spain’s Iker Casillas. “When someone told me that the World Cup ball would be in the shape of a cloud of bees, I admit I was worried. But it turns out that the ball will be a ball, which is just what I was secretly hoping.”
Twitter had been abuzz with rumours that the ball would not be ball-shaped at all, with bookmakers suspending betting on the Brazuca being a hexagonal cuboid. But FIFA have stuck with the time-honoured sphere-shaped ball, to the disappointment of UEFA’s Michel Platini, who had publically called for the World Cup ball to be a zero-dimensional dot.
FIFA tried using a cantellated tesseract-shaped ball during the Confederations Cup in 2009, though the experiment was discontinued after the first round of matches, amid widespread criticism that the ball only rarely existed in the same mathematical dimension as the players, leading to a series of dull, low-scoring encounters.