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Friday, 31 May, 2002, 14:41 GMT 15:41 UK
World Cup shows off football's future
France versus Senegal in opening match
The ball is rounder than any previous year

The World Cup finals which have just started in Japan and South Korea are the most technologically advanced ever.

Scientifically researched new boots and the roundest ever footballs have all been designed to make the matches as exciting as possible.

But according to some football pundits, advances in technology are making the game easier.

Perfect pitch

Perfecting a pitch before the football season starts is a priority for every groundsman.

But organisers of the World Cup have gone to great lengths to get it just right.

In many of the grounds, the grass has been grown outside the stadium and brought to a specific shade of green to give better television pictures.

The pitches are being lifted into position before the matches, ensuring a top quality playing surface.

Some players will be wearing revolutionary boots which have eight studs instead of the usual six.

This, scientists at John Moore's University in Liverpool say, will give significantly greater grip.

Lightweight balls

Modern technology has also been used to make the football itself the fastest and most accurate ever.

A number of players, especially goalkeepers, have complained that it is too light.

Designed exclusively for the World Cup, it is made of a foam layering system filled with gas-filled closed microballoons.

This, the manufacturers say, makes the ball extremely round and lightweight.

At least it will be easy for the keepers to lift as they pick it out of the back of the net.

See also:

31 May 02 | Science/Nature
22 May 02 | Other News
29 May 02 | Business
25 Apr 02 | Science/Nature
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