The Qatari World Cup sets another precedent by giving the final four teams the chance to play with a brand new match ball in the semifinals and final.
Croatia, Argentina, Morocco and France all fought to get this far, and they have been rewarded not only by the prospect of playing for international football’s most prestigious prize but also by becoming the first and only teams that will get to play with the special edition match ball.
The four nations have been on an adventure to get this far, and along with the other teams in Qatar, they have played with the ‘Al Rihla’ ball, which, translated to English, means “The Journey.”
Now, from the semifinals on, the match ball in use will be the “Al Hilm,” which translates as “The Dream”, signifying the dream that all four nations have of winning the World Cup.
The specifications of the match balls are not too dissimilar. Al Hilm will also have the ‘Connected Ball’ technology that Al Rihla has with in-built IMU sensors that have helped the officials make close offside calls at the World Cup.
Al Hilm is made entirely of water-based ink and glue, which is more environmentally friendly than previous footballs used at the World Cup.
What really sets Al Hilm apart from Al Rihla is the unique design of the match ball. It is made with a gold-coloured base, which represents the colour of the World Cup trophy, and triangular patterns which resemble the patterns on the Qatari flag.
The new match ball is unlikely to perform any differently from the former one, so there should be no worries on the part of the players.