A REAL GERMAN BALL
The name of the ball (Teamgeist) was a combination of two words, one in English (team) and the other in German (Geist which means spirit). The name was preceded by the mathematical sign + (plus) giving emphasis on a clear message: - You do not win only with physical strength and strategy but also with team spirit- a basic element to achieve sport targets.
THE NEW DESIGN
The Adidas Teamgeist ball was truly innovative. The panels that composed it were laid out on 2 main layers that surrounded the inner bladder forming a perfect shell. As in the previous World Cup ball, panels of Teamgeist were also Impranil, the special polyurethane synthetic material made by Bayer AG of Leverkusen, (Germany) which showed great flexibility, similar to that of natural leather. From a geometrical point of view, the Teamgeist was divided into 8 main semi segments and these crossed and joined by 6 minor central panels. Overall, the 14 panels formed a completely new design never seen before. The real technological innovation was the thermal welding used on the panels. This patented system was tested two years before on the Roteiro (the official match ball of the 2004 UEFA Euro Cup). The edges of the panels were finely welded, without changing the physical state of the material, making the ball perfectly waterproof avoiding the usage of other coating materials. According to FIFA standards the increase of the weight of the ball (due to absorption of water) should not exceed 10%. With this new hot sealing system the Teamgeist showed an increase of absorption less than 0,1%.
Technological performance aside, the real revolution was the abandonment of hand sewn panels, used for more than a century in international football. The Teamgeist was designed and tested by A.I.T. (Adidas Innovative Team). The sample balls were subjected to various tests according to FIFA standards and on the whole, the tests were substantially positive. They showed that the Teamgeist was 30% more accurate than the best competitor’s ball. Unlike precedent balls the Teamgeist presented a design strongly influenced by the shapes of its panels.
Regarding the colors, it returned to black and white with simple contour decorations. The trademark and general written prints were contained in the smaller panels, which had a thin gold rim. Prints and colors were made “under glass”, a technique that guaranteed shininess, precision and durability of the colors. The Teamgeist was a ball with a perfect combination of technology and elegance. At the 2006 World Cup the Teamgeist balls were all made in Thailand – from already several years Adidas has made the official ball in Asian countries.
THE APPEARANCE OF CUSTOMISED BALLS IN THE WORLD CUP
The innovations of the Teamgeist were not only limited to the structure and design. For the first time, the World Cup balls were “customized” for each game. On the balls have the followint scripts appeared: the names of the teams, the stadium, the city, the date and kick off time of the game. From the eliminatory stages onward the balls also had the level of the competition (quarter final, semi-final, etc.) printed on them. For each match of the 2006 World Cup Adidas provided 15 personalized balls at the disposal of the 4 referees and distributed along the field to maximize the speed of the game. This - according to FIFA rules - implemented already for years. The total supply of Adidas footballs for the 2006 World Cup was way over the 960 personalized balls for the 64 matches. Many other anonymous balls were supplied to each of the 32 qualified teams of the final phases in Germany 2006. The supplies were distributed the following way: 20 Teamgeist at the beginning of 2006 to each qualified federation, 20 Teamgeist to each of the teams that had just arrived to Germany, 20 Teamgeist Berlin to each team shortly after arriving. The total supply made by Adidas to FIFA and federations made a total of 2880 balls. It is interesting to point out that the golden ball reserved only for the final match was distributed to all the teams because they could all reach the Final instance. This was a significant sport and specially commercial move.
A BRAND NEW BALL FOR THE FINAL
For the first time after 32 years, and again in Germany, Adidas supplied two different balls for the World Cup. But this time, the second model (only different in the design) was used exclusively in the final match. The version “Teamgeist Berlin”, was in fact the 2006 Berlin ball, but it was quickly known as the “golden ball”. Unlike the ones used in other games, the Teamgeist Berlin had fewer panels in gold, with the nuances of a contour that extended more on the white panels. The black contour remained the same, as well as all the other written symbols and the printed detail of the Final match. The Teamgeist Berlin was officially presented in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, the 9th of December 2005 by Mr. Franz Beckenbauer, president of the German organizing committee, and World Cup champion as a player in 1974 and coach in 1990. Only 1600 balls were printed with the names of the finalists (Italy – France); Most of these were already on sale 3 days before the Final was played.