The adidas Telstar 18, the official ball for the World Cup in Russia next year, received its first test last Saturday (11 November 2017) in the friendly match Argentina won against Russia in Moscow. The ball was introduced the day before during a sci-fi-like ceremony.

A unique feature of the Telstar 18 is a high-tech NFC integrated chip, which enables fans to access content via smartphones and interact with other fans. This is similar to the NFC chip adidas built into some footwear and clothing lines that sends content and information about new products to consumers.

The retro-look of the ball harks back to the first adidas Telstar ball developed for the 1970 Mexico World Cup. The thermally bonded, seamless, surface is designed to ensure good ball control and reduce water absorption.

Apart from performance, factors taken into account with the development of the ball were longevity and sustainability, with recycled materials used in the packaging.

“The revised panel design and the integration of an NFC chip sets new standards in terms of product innovation and design,” says Roland Rommler, adidas category director for football products.