back to article Balls to the World Cup: Brazuca wins in the wind

In soccer, the ball matters: Japanese boffins say the new six-panel design to be used in the 2014 FIFA World Cup is the most stable and predictable in many a long year. Of course, the balls used in the World Cup are nothing like what oldsters like this correspondent would recognise. The old-style ball has long been replaced at …

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  1. frank ly

    I remember the old leather footballs

    You pushed a new bladder in through the opening and laced it up then inflated it to what you thought was a good pressure. On damp grass the ball got heavier as the game went on. When you headed the ball, you hoped that the lacing wasn't in the 'right' place to leave an impression or even a cut on your forehead. Footballers nowadays .......

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I remember the old leather footballs

      Never mind the cuts - they could also scramble your brain! They certainly were horribly heavy things when wet.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I remember the old leather footballs

      Luxury. When I were a lad we used to play wi balls made out of concrete and nails. We had to get up before dawn, kick it wi our bare feet for 10 hours and if we didn't score 500 goals we'd be thrashed to within an inch of our lives. Kids these days don't know they are born.

      1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: I remember the old leather footballs

        Concrete AND nails?! That's, posh, that is

        We would have just LOVED to have concrete. We had a ball of depleted uranium (IF we were lucky), and died of radiation poisoning after EVERY game, and our dad would come and dance on our grave and sing "Hallelujah!"

        And if you tell kids they never believe a word of what you are saying

    3. Richard Barnes

      Re: I remember the old leather footballs

      In the professional game of the 50's, apparently it used to be part of the skill of a winger to cross the ball with the laces facing away from the centre-forward's head!

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pity about the predictability -

    It'll also be predictable for defenders and goalkeepers! That sounds like it'll make it harder to score.

    Of course, amateurs of today still play with icosaeders made by suspiciously young Pakistanis who kick with bottles themselves.

    1. James Micallef Silver badge

      Re: Pity about the predictability -

      No, predictable is better.

      I would rather see an artist like Pirlo sweetly stroke a free-kick into the exact spot of the net he wants to, because he can, than watch some poser like Ronaldo* or Roberto Carlos* just hit the ball as hard as they can and hope it bends the right way.

      And I'm not surprised the 'old' balls were better than those from the last 2 World Cups, which could take some weird trajectories.

      *Note - I believe both are / were great players, it's just simply not true that they are / were great freekick takers. Carlos particularly got his reputation off a single freekick and he spent the rest of his career blasting them at the sky. Ronaldo does his macho pose run-up thing and more often than not blasts it straight at the wall or keeper

  3. bex

    the goal area is (relative to the one dude protecting it) massive, it's only down to the skill professional defenders and goalies the score is not high in every game. this new ball if it goes where you kick it in a more dependable way will mean more goals.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: bex

      That's not what Iker Casillas and Julio Cesar, who appear knowledgeable about the subject, said about the Jabulani ball. According to them, its flight was so erratic the keepers had difficulty catching it. So I think a less erratic ball will be welcome to them.

      1. James Micallef Silver badge

        Re: bex

        Erratic flight cuts both ways... A big part goalkeepers / defenders skills is anticipation / prediction of where the ball is going to. If apparent flight is very different from actual flight, they are disadvantaged. But equally, for attackers taking a precise shot or midfielders threading a through-pass, they want the ball to predictably go the same way every time they hit it the same way.

        So it's not a question of erratic flight disadvantaging attack or defence, it disadvantages highly skilled players by adding randomness.

        That's why I'm all for a more precise ball - it favours highly skilled players, whether they are attacking or defensive ones

  4. 100113.1537
    Facepalm

    LACES OUT!

    Sorry, wrong kind of football, but I couldn't resist!

  5. The last doughnut
    Facepalm

    A bladder full of hot air.

  6. Chris Hunt

    Doesn't this rather miss the point?

    If you've been training with and using ball X over a long period to hone your skills, it's clearly going to affect your performance if you have to start using ball Y for a particular tournament - even if its performance is objectively better.

    Why can't FIFA establish a solid, detailed specification for footballs that is applied and stuck to world-wide over a long period, rather than coming up with a new "improved" ball every four years? It's almost as if the people in charge were quietly being paid wads of cash by sports equipment manufacturers to improve their sales figures.

    Oh, hang on...

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