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Page last updated at 09:26 GMT, Wednesday, 2 June 2010 10:26 UK

World Cup 2010: David James criticises Jabulani ball

David James
James has been tipped to be England's number one keeper at the World Cup

England's David James has joined the growing list of goalkeepers to voice concern about the new Jabulani ball that will be used in the World Cup.

Australia's Mark Schwarzer recently joined keepers from Italy, Brazil and Spain in criticising the ball.

"There will undoubtedly be goals scored in this tournament which in previous tournaments with different balls wouldn't have been scored," said James.

"It will allow extra goals, but leave some goalkeepers looking daft."

Detractors have suggested that the design of the new ball makes it more unpredictable, but manufacturer Adidas has rejected the criticism, saying it was widely tested and approved before its launch in December.

A spokesman for the company, Thomas Van Schaik, said players had been practising with the ball since January and most of the feedback had been positive.

However, James said: "The ball is dreadful. It's horrible, but it's horrible for everyone.

"You saw from Frank [Lampard's] free-kick in the first half against Japan, which dipped wickedly, so it'll be interesting."

Schwarzer admitted to having struggled with the new ball in the Socceroos' 1-0 warm-up win over Denmark on Tuesday.

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The match was played in Johannesburg, 1,700m above sea level, which is a factor that could further affect the flight of the ball.

"Obviously it's quite unpredictable, the way the ball flies," said the 37-year-old Fulham keeper.

"Sometimes the ball has a genuine flight and other times it has a mind of its own so it has taken time to adjust and it will take us time still now.

"We have got to use this time between now and the first game on 13 June, where we are playing at sea level, to hopefully get used to the flight of the ball a little bit better and make things easier for ourselves.

"You have to stay calm and probably hold your run a bit longer and then go a bit later, but it can be difficult because sometimes the ball (comes in) very, very quick as well."

Spain goalkeeper Iker Casillas and Brazil custodian Julio Cesar have previously suggested the ball is difficult to control.

And Italy's Gianluigi Buffon added his voice to the clamour on Tuesday, saying: "The trajectory is really unpredictable. Usually you get used to it, but in this case every touch comes with the unknown.

"I noticed the first day that this Jabulani ball wasn't right.

Joachim Loew with a giant mock-up of the ball
Germany manager Joachim Loew with a giant Jabulani ball

"The World Cup brings together the best players in the world and to those players you must provide something decent. The new ball is not decent."

The goalkeepers' union were backed up by Italy striker Giampaolo Pazzini, who said: "The new ball is a disaster for strikers. It's fast and it weighs less than a normal ball."

Further condemnation has come from Japan defender Marcus Tulio Tanaka, who scored in the 2-1 warm-up defeat by England on Sunday, and Denmark coach Morten Olsen.

Tanaka admitted the ball was "difficult for defenders to deal with" because of its unpredictability, while Olsen described it as "an impossible ball".

However, Spain midfielder Xabi Alonso said his team-mates were gradually getting used to the Jabulani ball, which is named after the Zulu word "to celebrate".

Alonso said: "The ball is different but little by little, we are getting accustomed to it. We have only been training with it for a few days and it has different characteristics but you get a feel for the touch and its trajectory.

"As days go by and once we play more games with it, I am certain we will feel more comfortable with it."



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see also
Walcott left out of England squad
01 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010


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