There's a new ball on the pitch for the Women's World Cup semifinals and championship games.
FIFA unveiled the Oceanuz Final Pro Ball on Aug. 14 as the World Cup entered its final week. The ball from Adidas has "glistening orange and gold detailing" to mimic sunsets in Sydney, host to the final games.
It also has, our sister paper Urethanes Technology International writes, a Speedshell polyurethane skin with a 20-piece panel outer that will enhance aerodynamics. It is the first official match ball for a FIFA Women's World Cup Final with connected ball technology — sensors that allow "more accurate officiating decisions" while also measuring key statistics such as speed, spin and distance, FIFA says.
I'm far from an expert on soccer, so I'm not sure what the reasoning is on switching the ball in the middle of the tournament, although it did the same thing in 2022 during the men's World Cup.
Its appearance will, however, provide another opportunity to sell something to fans. Replicas of the Oceanuz ball are available for about $160, with 1 percent of net sales going toward "initiatives supporting the communities shaping the game for the next generation of female football players," Solène Störmann, global category director for football hardware at Adidas, said in a news release.