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New World Cup ball bounces into action

By Jake Lofdahl, CNN
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Making the World Cup football
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The new 2010 World Cup ball is named "Jabulani", which means "to celebrate" in Zulu
  • Adidas rrigorously tested the ball in their specially made wind tunnel in Scheinfeld, Germany
  • World Cup footballs have not been made out of leather since the 1986 edition of the tournament in Mexico
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London, England (CNN) -- There are many off-field aspects to the modern-day World Cup which makes the experience complete for soccer-crazy fans; from the unveiling of a tournament mascot to themed merchandise such as computer games and event specific kits for the teams taking part.

Another crucial element to this list of tournament treats is the release of the all-important official World Cup football.

The 2010 edition of the event, which will kick off in South Africa on June 11, is no different, with football's world governing body FIFA commissioning German sport manufacturer Adidas to create the hallowed orb.

The ball has been named "Jabulani" -- a Zulu phrase which means "to celebrate" -- and uses eleven different colors to represent the eleven players on a team, as well as the eleven official languages and tribes of South Africa.

Fantastic, the ball does exactly what I want it to do
--Michael Ballack

Not since 1986 has the World Cup used a leather ball -- and the "Jabulani" is far removed from its more simple parent with eight thermally-bonded panels used in its construction.

It is thought that demand will be high for the spheres come June, and in anticipation 1,760 a day are being produced using complex processes such as high-frequency forming, vacuuming and thermal bonding, which Adidas says give the product "ground-breaking" performance.

Chelsea and Germany captain Michael Ballack for one seems to be a fan, after he told reporters "the ball does exactly what I want it to do" on its release.

Whether the ball will help Ballack's side go two better than their third-place finish in 2006, to pick up their fourth world title, remains to be seen.