It wouldn't be the World Cup without Adidas designing a new soccer ball that the players can complain about. For 2018's Cup they've introduced the Telstar 18, a graphic update on the classic, black-and-white-TV-friendly Telstar from 1970. (Thus far goalies reportedly hate it, finding the ball unpredictable and slippery.)
Enter a caption (optional) Enter a caption (optional)
Adidas' designers opted to place an NFC chip inside of the ball. Why? Beats the hell out of me--in this interview with one of the designers, his explanation is wildly unsatisfying:
There's a YouTube channel called What's Inside that, well, looks inside of things. In this one they cut a Telstar 18 open, then an original Telstar to see the difference:
Thus far one, possibly two of the Telstar 18s have burst during match play, during the France-Australia game. It remains to be seen whether this is an anomaly, or will turn into a consistent disaster on the level of the Jabulani.