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Sunday, 26 May, 2002, 13:20 GMT 14:20 UK
Harte's new ball game
The Republic believe it could be a whole new ball game

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The Republic of Ireland's free-kick specialist Ian Harte hopes the new ball being used at the World Cup will help him add to the eight goals he has scored at international level.

The Irish team played with the lightweight Adidas Fevernova ball for the first time in Saturday's warm-up game against Japanese club side Sanfreece Hiroshima.

And Leeds United's lethal dead-ball expert Harte reported a big change.

Ian Harte may benefit using new football
"This ball is completely different. If you hit it the slightest bit wrong it can go anywhere," said Harte.

"But if you are 25-30 yards out goalkeepers are going to be worried.

"I hope to get some opportunities from that range in the World Cup.

"But I am just getting used to it at the moment and hope to get some more practice with the ball in training."

Reserve goalkeeper Dean Kiely, of Charlton Athletic, said the new ball could lead to some spectacular long-range goals in the World Cup.

"The whole property of the ball is geared towards movement and pace. Shots come at you a lot quicker," said Charlton's 1million stopper.

"I am pleased Ian is on our side and not against us because I think he will be able to do unbelievable things with the ball.

"The goalkeeper's perspective does not get taken into account at all.

"They want to see harder and faster shots with the ball moving a lot more and it makes for great viewing.

"We have had a week with the new ball and it does not take long to get your eye in really.

"Shots from distance will come at you quicker and movement on the ball will be exaggerated a little."


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