World Cup 2010: Is the Jabulani ball bad for the World Cup?
The official World Cup 2010 soccer ball, the Jabulani, is terrible, say players. Its flight is unpredictable and has produced some of the lowest scoring early matches in World Cup history.
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But unlike in previous tournaments, it is not just the goalkeepers who are complaining – this time around strikers have been equally scathing. FIFA and Adidas expected the new ball to lead to an increase in goals. Instead it has had the opposite effect as strikers struggle to work out how to get the best out of a ball that moves through the air quicker and less predictably than the those used in European leagues.Skip to next paragraph
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One British paper reported that some players are calling it the Jumanji ball, after the 1995 Robin William's film, due to its capricious flight path.
The opening matches have produced the lowest number of goals in World Cup history. Shot accuracy is just 33 percent, compared to at least 40 percent for the three most recent World Cups.
Adidas has been producing specially-made match balls for World Cups since 1970, when the Telstar was introduced for the tournament in Mexico. Every four years they bring out a new model, as well as providing different designs for European Championships and the Africa Cup of Nations. The reason, though Adidas would deny it, is money. The official ball is on sale here in South Africa for 1500 Rand ($200).
Not every team is at a disadvantage though. For the past year, the Jabulani has been used in the German Bundesliga, Germany's premier professional soccer league. And so far the most convincing performance of the World Cup came from Germany in their 4-0 demolition of Australia. Well, at least until Germany lost today to Serbia.
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