Having a ball in Rio
© AFP

With vibrant colours, a stunning backdrop and an upbeat, carnival atmosphere, this might have been the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ itself.

As it was, this spectacular event - held at Rio de Janeiro’s renowned Parque Lage - was merely the launch of the ball with which history will be made next year. The adidas brazuca was unveiled amid a breathtaking 3D light projection show, with Clarence Seedorf and Cafu among the crowd left wowed by the remarkable display.

This launch came at the end of an exhaustive period of research, with over two-and-a-half years making the brazuca the most-tested adidas ball in history. The result is a ball, the name of which means 'Brazilian' and refers to the Brazilian way of life, which boasts a unique symmetry of six identical panels, with the eye-catching design symbolising the traditional multi-coloured wish bracelets worn throughout the South American nation.

Now, with the Official Match Ball launched and the Final Draw completed, we can begin looking forward to next year's main event with added anticipation. Appetites have been well and truly whetted.