Whenever it comes time to review a ball for the Instep, it always makes me hope that the ball has enough to differentiate itself from similar products on the market. Luckily, the adidas Brazuca is about as different as possible from any other ball that is currently available. However, does the World Cup ’14 match ball differ as much in performance as it does in looks? Let’s take a look…
First, we will take a long hard look at the design and color of the latest and greatest from adidas. Suffice it to say, it is unique. The odd paneling and colors make it look unlike anything that we have previously seen in the world of match balls. Unlike Nike, adidas have never claimed that their ball has been designed so that players can quickly ascertain the spin on the ball and the Brazuca pattern makes it looks crazy as it spins and flies through the air. Anyone that is familiar with the TeamGeist series from adidas will know that the ball always looked slightly small for a size five, and this is something that has come back around with the Brazuca. Although the recent outings from adidas (Cafusa, Tango, etc.) looked the proper size, the shape and bonding on the Brazuca (like the TeamGeist) makes it look slightly small. Do not worry that you have accidentally ordered a size four though, this is a size 5 top-tier match ball…it just looks small.
Second, when playing with the ball, it performs as you would expect a high end match ball. The flight is true and there are no odd “Jabulani-like” movements. However, the Brazuca does seem to sail through the air a bit faster than other high-end balls. This was rumored to be an aspect of this ball that FIFA had been excited about since it would provide better goals during the World Cup and it seems to be a legitimate quality possessed by the Brazuca. There were several strikes and long balls where it did seem like it flew a little faster through the air. Perhaps this is can be attributed to the smaller shape of the ball or the odd panel shape, but once this ball starts being used in the upcoming MLS season and in the World Cup, I expect there to be several long range strikes that fly past the keeper a bit faster than if a different ball was being used.
If you plan on playing with the Brazuca in colder climates, be warned that it seems to be affected more by the cold than other match balls. Other FIFA “A” approved balls still feel cushioned as you go for a header (no matter whether the ball has too much air or has gotten cold), but the Brazuca left several of us rubbing our heads after going for headers to try and ease the pain we received for our effort. In warmer weather, the problem seemed nonexistent and the typical match ball cushioning was evident when going for a header.
All in all, the Brazuca is a great outing from adidas and should aid the German brand in slowly erasing the black mark from the Jabulani. It performs as a top tier match ball should while embracing new technologies and looks. Although the look of the ball might be insane, the ball responds admirably. There is nothing that should keep you from snagging one of these for yourself, although the heightened price-tag from adidas might prevent it from being as accessible as other match balls. Head over to SoccerPro.com and snag one for yourself today!