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Players unhappy with 'supermarket' WC ball

Last updated on: May 31, 2010 11:05 IST

'It's like a beachball'

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Spain goalkeeper Iker Casillas complained the official World Cup ball was better suited to the beach than to the finals in South Africa after his side's 3-2 warm-up win against Saudi Arabia.

"It's a bit like a beachball," the Spain captain was quoted as telling Spanish media on Sunday, the day after the friendly in Innsbruck, Austria. He went on to describe the unpredictable movement of the ball.

"Now it isn't only the goalkeepers (complaining) it is the outfield players as well. It's sad that a competition as important as a World Cup has an element as vital as the ball with such abysmal characteristics," he added.


Image: Iker Casillas
Photographs: Reuters
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'It is shameful to play with a ball like that'

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Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon joined the chorus of disapproval.

"The new model is absolutely inadequate and I believe it is shameful to play such an important competition, where so many champions are taking part, with a ball like that," the 2006 World Cup winner said.


Image: Gianluigi Buffon practices with the World Cup ball

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First perfectly round ball

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The Adidas World Cup ball, whose name Jabulani means 'to celebrate' in the Zulu language, was billed as the first perfectly round ball and the most accurate yet when it was unveiled by FIFA.

New balls for major tournaments always make players uneasy and there has been plenty of anger this time with the World Cup in South Africa due to kick off on June 11.


Image: Franz Beckenbauer with the World Cup ball

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'It's like one of those balls you buy in the supermarket'

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Meanwhile, Brazil goalkeeper Julio Cesar is horrified by the ball, which will be used at the World Cup, likening it to a cheap one bought from the supermarket.

It's terrible, horrible," said the Inter Milan player, widely considered to be the world's top goalkeeper.

"It's like one of those balls you buy in the supermarket," he added.

Brazil's goalkeeping coach Wendell said the new ball was highly unpredictable when hit from long range.

"The danger for goalkeepers is when they come off their line," he said.

"They need to stay in a safe place otherwise the ball will drop behind them (and into the goal)," he added.


Image: Julio Cesar during a practice session

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Especially bad for goalkeepers

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"There is no way to hide it," Brazil midfielder Julio Baptista said.

"It's bad for the goalkeepers and it's bad for us. It's really bad. The players try to cross it and it goes to the opposite direction they intended it to go.

"That's the ball they chose and we have to accept it. But it's going to be complicated," he added.


Image: Brazilian team during a warm up session

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Getting used to it

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Midfield playmaker Xavi said: "It's a question of getting used to it but in truth it does move around a lot."


Image: Spain's Xavi during a friendly match

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