Top 10 FIFA World Cup Balls of All Time

Without a doubt, as we look back on the history of the FIFA World Cup, the event has given us some of the most memorable moments in sports. Whatever memories you have of those competitions, you almost certainly link them with a particular football.

We shed the light on the top 10 best FIFA world cup balls in history. Let’s begin!

2022 Qatar World Cup Ball – Al Rihla

Adidas is responsible for the production of the match ball. The “colors of the Qatari flag and typically white Arab clothing” inspired the Adidas Al Rihla official match ball’s color design. 

One thing worth noticing is the Speedshell technology used to make the ball. The goal of Speedshell is to accelerate the ball’s spin and flight speed to produce superb aerodynamics and a perfect shot.

10. Telstar18 – 2018 World Cup Ball

Year: 2018

Host: Russia

The Telstar18 ball in 2018 has a modern update while maintaining the general vibe of its namesake from the 1970s.

The lengthy hexagon forms had a type of pixelated pattern that faded into the background hue of white. The design is attractive, but nothing about it is mainly related to the World Cup or the hosting country; it could have been used for any league or competition.

9. Teamgeist – 2006 World Cup Ball

Year: 2006

Host: Germany

Ball image credit: Jurgen Siebert CC BY SA 3.0

This ball was on the field when Zinedine Zidane was famously dismissed against Italy in the final. This was the year that the ball advanced into the twenty-first century in terms of technology and design, with 14 curved panels instead of the previously-standard 32 and one of the first balls to be thermally bonded together instead of sewn.

8. Jabulani – 2010 World Cup Ball

Year: 2010

Host: South Africa

Ball image credit: Warrenski CC BY SA 2.0

The soccer ball for the inaugural World Cup held in Africa was named Jabulani, which translates to “Be Happy!” in Zulu. Although the triangle forms look entirely black from a distance, they have 11 different colors, one for each of the 11 players on the field and the 11 official languages of South Africa. This was the first ball to have a textured surface, which was meant to make it more aerodynamic. However, both goalkeepers and strikers criticized it for being highly unpredictable in the air.

7. Fevernova – 2002 World Cup Ball

Year: 2002

Host: Japan and South Korea

The three years of work to develop the prior Tricolore ball at the research facility in southern Germany resulted in the ball Fevernova.

The new style is based on Asian culture, and it differs from the designs of the past. An improved syntactic foam layer and a three-layer knitted chassis gave this ball superior performance and allowed for a more precise and predictable flight path. More than 2,500 Fevernova balls were presented for use in World Cup games, and over six million duplicates were subsequently sold worldwide.

6. Telstar – 1970 World Cup Ball

Year: 1970

Host: Mexico

Ball image credit: Warren Rohner CC BY SA 2.0

Ask anyone at random to sketch a soccer ball. They will undoubtedly try to create a drawing resembling the Telstar ball. The black-and-white pattern was designed to help the ball stand out on the then-common black-and-white screens, and it has since come to represent football everywhere. Despite not being routinely utilized by any professional league or international competitions for nearly 50 years, it is still in use today.

5. Tango Durlast – 1978 World Cup Ball

Year: 1978

Host: Argentina

Ball image credit: Gapec CC BY SA 4.0

A straightforward but incredibly impactful design element that, for almost 25 years, defined the aesthetic of the largest soccer tournaments in the world. From 1978, when it was first held in Argentina, until 1998, when it was held in France, the World Cup followed this basic format. Each hexagon of the ball’s triangle forms links together to provide the appearance of larger circles in the empty area.

4. Etrusco – 1990 World Cup Ball

Year: 1990

Host: Italy

Ball image credit: Liondartois CC BY SA 4.0

The 1990 version updated that time’s well-proven Tango formula with the flair of Ancient Rome. It was a beautiful ball with a robust design that reflected the host country.

3. Brazuca – 2014 World Cup Ball

Year: 2014

Host: Brazil

Ball image credit: Danilo Borgescopa CC BY SA 3.0

The Brazuca’s solid shapes and colors are the most adventurous design to date, and its catchy name is undoubtedly the most entertaining. Although there is a subtle nod to the earlier Tango designs in the dark sections where the panels join, this one shines out as being genuinely original.

2. Tricolore – 1998 World Cup Ball

Year: 1998

Host: France

Ball image credit: Shine 2010 CC BY 2.0

This was the first World Cup ball to use color in the design, culminating in a two-decade-long sequence of Tango variants. After 30 years of black and white, the French flag’s three colors—blue, white, and red—popped out. Additionally, it was wise to utilize the Adidas emblem as the comb on the stylized cockerel’s head. France would win the tournament for the first time, proving that the decision to heavily favor the host nation in the design was wise.

1. Azteca – 1986 World Cup Ball

Year: 1986

Host: Mexico

Ball image credit: Shine2010 CC BY 2.0

The 1986 World Cup ball took the format introduced with the Tango in 1978 and incorporated elements representing the host nation for the first time in World Cup history. It was an exercise in absolutely nailing the less-is-more theory of design.

The geometric designs flawlessly create a mix between meaning and simplicity, evoking the art and culture of Mexico’s Aztec civilization. They produce something instantly recognizable that transports you to a specific location with nothing more than a few geometric lines (and time).

This ball was, famously, touched by Diego Maradona, in what is known as The Hand of God. Arguably, this is the ideal world cup ball.

Final Thoughts

That’s all there is to it.

How well did we rank each World Cup match ball? Please share in the comments which World Cup ball is your favorite.


What is inside the World Cup ball?

The World Cup ball contains a motion sensor system that can track many different stats. These include player location, ball speed, and helps the use of VAR and Goal-line Technology.

Why is the World Cup ball always Adidas?

Prior to the 1970 Mexico World Cup, multiple different balls were used throughout the tournament. However, since the ‘official ball’ system was brought in, Adidas has managed to nail down its spot as the FIFA World Cup ball producer.

What ball will be used in the 2022 World Cup?

The Adidas Al Rihla is the official ball World Cup ball for Qatar 2022, and contains Speedshell technology. Translated to English, the ball means ‘The Journey’.

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