World Cup 2022: Official tournament football revealed for Qatar

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The official 2022 World Cup match ballThe Al Rihla ball "supports the highest game speeds", according to its designer

With 236 days to go until the 2022 World Cup gets under way in Qatar - and the draw set to take place on Friday - another landmark moment in the countdown to football's biggest tournament took place on Wednesday.

The official match ball was unveiled - and it "travels faster in flight than any other World Cup ball" in history, according to Adidas, who have produced 14 successive balls for the tournament.

Named the 'Al Rihla', which translates as "the journey" in Arabic, the design is said to also provide "the highest level of accuracy".

"The game is getting faster and, as it speeds up, accuracy and flight stability becomes critically important," said design director Franziska Loeffelmann.

"The new design allows the ball to maintain its speed significantly higher as it journeys through the air."

By the time the draw takes place, 29 of the 32 nations will be confirmed for Qatar - with two inter-continental play-offs and one Uefa play-off yet to be decided.

In 2010, Fifa had to come out in defence of the South Africa tournament ball - the Jabulani - following growing criticism from players over it's mid-flight movement.

Four years ago, there was also a mid-tournament switch as a new match ball was introduced for the knockout stage of the World Cup in Russia, with the Telstar Mechta replacing the Telstar 18 used in the group stage.

Normally a summer event, the 2022 tournament begins on 21 November because of extreme heat in Qatar. The draw takes place on Friday at 17:00 BST.

World Cup footballs from 1998 to 2018How the World Cup football design has changed over the past six tournaments: France 1998 (top left), South Korea and Japan 2002 (top right), Germany 2006 (centre left), South Africa 2010 (centre right), Brazil 2014 (bottom left) and Russia 2018 (bottom right)
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