World football's governing body FIFA on Tuesday announced that a new ball will be used for the knockout phase of the ongoing World Cup in Russia.
The Adidas Telstar Mechta will replace the Telstar 18 used during the group stage of football's biggest tournament, FIFA said on Tuesday, reports Xinhua news agency. (Also Read: Lionel Messi finally scores as Argentina advance to round of 16)
The new red design reflects the host nation's colours and the "rising heat" of the second half of the competition, it said, adding that the ball will be used for the first time on Saturday.
"The Telstar 18 was a huge step forward technically when it came to official match balls," Adidas Vice President of Products Dean Lokes said. "With the Telstar Mechta we have taken that same innovative design and re-imagined it." (Also Read: A guide to the World Cup when you know nothing about football)
Each ball will be fitted with a near-field communication chip, allowing for interaction by smartphone users, according to FIFA.