Keep Your Eye on the Bouncing Ball!
Teams are playing with a new soccer ball at the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Not everyone is thrilled about it.
When English goalie Robert Green misplayed Clint Dempsey's shot, many players blamed the ball. This year's official World Cup ball is not your typical soccer ball. Most soccer fans are familiar with one covered with 32 stitched panels. This year's ball has just eight panels. Fewer panels make the ball rounder. It is designed to move through the air faster.
Adidas, which designed the ball, calls it Jabulani. In African languages that means "to celebrate." But World Cup goalies are not celebrating. France's goalie calls the redesigned ball "a disaster." Spain's keeper says it moves "like a beach ball." Other goalies say it is too light, too round. It moves funny and bounces strangely. And that might help explain why Green misplayed Dempsey's shot.
"The ball is crazy," says U.S. star Landon Donovan. "Especially at [high] altitude, especially when it's wet, it's very difficult for goalies. There's going to be in this tournament a lot of goals that are freaky like that."
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