The next World Cup is still nearly two years away. The competition's official ball, however, is here.
Well, sort of.
FIFA on Wednesday announced the name of the official ball set to be used at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. The ball has not yet been designed, nor will it be released for some time. But at least we'll know what to call it when it does come out.
The ball will be called the “adidas Brazuca” following a public vote by over one million Brazilian football fans, where the name received 70 per cent of the vote.
adidas, the FIFA World Cup Official Match Ball supplier since 1970, took inspiration from elements of Brazilian culture to come up with a shortlist of three possible names for the ball. In addition to the eventual winner Brazuca, there were two more options – Bossa Nova and Carnavalesca.
For the past three weeks, Brazilian football fans have been voting for their favourite name in their thousands. This is the first time that fans have been directly involved in the naming of the FIFA World Cup ball.
The informal term “brazuca” is used by Brazilians to describe national pride in the Brazilian way of life. Mirroring their approach to football, it symbolises emotion, pride and goodwill to all.
Hmm. Brazuca, eh?
FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke heaped praise on the not-yet-designed ball, saying he's "sure" it will match the greatness of legendary balls like 1978's Tango and the Azteca in 1986.
As for first impressions, the name will sound a lot like "bazooka" to English speakers, but that's beside the point. The word brazuca apparently has deep cultural meaning for Brazilians, and that makes it a good choice.
Still, it's hard not to think Bossa Nova might have been better. Your turn, readers. What do you think?