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Pass the ball

The 2018 Fifa World Cup has a surprise for its knockout roundsa new match ball inspired by the colours of Russia

The new Telstar Mechta.
The new Telstar Mechta.

Football fanatics can add a new must-have to their wish list. The Fifa governing body has announced that a new match ball will be used for the knockout matches of the ongoing World Cup slated to start today. The new ball, Telstar Mechta, will replace the Telstar 18, which has been used as the official match ball of the tournament so far, and is likely to be retained till the final on 15 July.

The Telstar Mechta draws its name from the Russian word mechta, meaning “dream" or “ambition", and has been designed by sportswear brand adidas, which has been supplying the official match ball for the World Cup since 1970. The design elements are similar to the Telstar 18, marked by a metallic print and pixelated panel design, but the Telstar Mechta’s standout feature is its vivid red shade, inspired by the colours of Russia. The colour is also meant to symbolize the intense competition in the knockout stage.

The body of the ball is also reminiscent of the Brazuca, the official match ball of the 2014 World Cup. Other features of the Telstar Mechta include recycled backing materials and packaging, and an NFC (near-field communication) chip (which is also a feature of Telstar 18). Fifa World Cup balls have traditionally been available for consumers to buy, and the chip, used for the first time in the tournament’s official match ball, is designed to increase consumer interactivity with the games. The chip, located on top of the balls, generates a unique identifier when accessed via NFC-enabled smartphones, unlocking product-related content and information for users.

The Telstar Mechta is available for consumers across adidas retail stores and on; prices, 1,299-9,999.

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