Friday, December 4, 2015

4 December 2009 - Maybe The Goalkeepers Spoke A Bit Too Soon

On 4 December 2009, Adidas introduced their controversial new match ball for the 2010 World Cup, the Jabulani.

Named after the Zulu word for "celebrate," the ball was made from eight spherically molded panels and had a textured surface designed to improve its aerodynamics. The result was unpredictable flight behavior which drew heavy criticism from several players. Goalkeepers were particularly unhappy, including Brazil's Julio Cesar, who called it a "supermarket ball," Spain's Iker Casillas, who said it was "horrible," and Italy's Gianluigi Buffon, who said it was "absolutely inadequate."

Predictably, players contracted to Adidas provided more favorable reviews, including such high-profile stars as Kaká ("just great"), Michael Ballack ("fantastic"), and Frank Lampard ("very strong").

The overall effect appeared to be a reduction in goalscoring, as the tournament had only 145 goals, the fewest of any World Cup since the tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1998.

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