Archive for June 25th, 2010

Football technology

There will always be debate about the use of technology in football.

The use of video replays is frequently discussed and more of this in a later article.

Technology, however, plays a very important role in many aspects of the game apart from video replays.

adidas, for example, produces a new ball for every World Cup tournament.

The Jabulani , which means to celebrate in Zulu, is the ball for 2010 and in Germany 2006 it was the Teamgeist, team spirit.

Each ball is the result of a tremendous amount of research and development by adidas, FIFA’s oldest partner.

Normally a football will have 32 hexagonal panels but the Teamgeist had only 14 and the Jabulani has only 8.

The shape of the Jabulani is said to be the nearest a ball has come to being a perfect sphere because of the manufacturing process and the grip and groove surface is supposed to help goalkeepers because it has a near perfect flight.

Without going into too much detail the general view of the ball has not been that it is light and rises very quickly. We have had a shortage of goals from long distance and the coaches and players blame the ball.

Fabio Capello and Diego Maradona have both spoken out against the ball saying it is the worst ball ever in a World Cup

The World Cup ball is always criticized but the Jabulani seems to have attracted more criticism than most.

It is being strongly marketed worldwide by adidas, however, and I am sure will turn into a very substantial earner for the company.

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The surprises continue

The World Cup theatre continues to surprise.

How many experts would have thought Italy would gain fewer points than New Zealand?

How many would have thought that at the end of the Group Stage that Ghana would be the only African team left in the last 16?

What about the performances of main Asian hopes, South Korea, Japan and Australia?

Two qualified and the other came close but their performances were not predicted by the media in their pre-tournament analyses.

North Korea, the other Asian team, were in an almost impossibly difficult group facing the skills and flair of Brazil and Portugal but they did put on an unexpected show against Brazil, losing only 2-1.

England and Germany qualified in their final matches but only just while under major pressure to fashion good results.

Whenever you are able to accurately predict what is going to happen in football we lose its universal appeal.

Football must always be unpredictable,

For the good of the game!

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Tomatoes or kiwi fruits?

You can never predict what will happen in a World Cup and it is great for football that the lesser favourites have delivered the goods in South Africa.

Who would have bet against New Zealand finishing above World Champions Italy in the Group Stages?

If the Italians go home to be pelted by tomatoes, as happened in 1966, will the Kiwis be welcomed by Kiwi fruits in recognition of their achievements?

Maybe New Zealand wine would be more acceptable!

The boost to football in New Zealand will be massive. Of course the main sports are the two rugby codes and cricket but what an exposure football has had in the last few weeks. This will have a long lasting effect on the development of the game in the country.

More money will of course be available but the profile of football has been raised so much. More young players will want to play football and the future is promising for the game in New Zealand

Similarly in Australia the failure to qualify for the next stage of the competition has been eased by the fact that it was a close run thing and Australia only failed to qualify on goal difference behind Germany and Serbia.

Japan were the fourth favourites behind Netherlands, Denmark and Cameroon but a final match 3-1 victory over Denmark sealed their place in the next round.

This is a tremendous result for Asia following the success of South Korea in qualifying from Group E where they overcame the much favoured Cameroon and Denmark.

The hosts, South Africa, can also be proud of their performance, finishing just behind Mexico on goal difference and finishing above 1998 World Cup winners France.

You can never predict what will happen in a World Cup.

Long may that unpredictability continue!

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