Rod Liddle

Not a pretty spectacle

Not a pretty spectacle
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I suppose it’s a good job we don’t have capital punishment. Having spent the last two days speculating upon ways of executing England’s goalkeeper, Robert Green, I’ve now conceded that it really wasn’t his fault. Every goalkeeper is having trouble holding the ball; invariably shots are spilled and gathered at the second attempt. It is making the games a lottery and, further, persuading outfield players to shoot from ridiculous distances.

But it’s not just the goalies who suffer; the ball is far harder to control, bounces higher and heads off at speed away from chasing players. Passes are therefore often overhit and teams which rely upon an expansive passing game are disproportionately punished. I have just watched two exquisitely neat teams, Holland and Denmark, fail to string more than three or four passes together; it looked very much as if they were playing on early Astroturf. The ball, manufactured by Adidas, is called the Jabulani and is covered in tiny ridges and grooves which makes it swing in the air and speed along the ground. It is spoiling this world cup almost as much as the host fans with their bloody stupid horns.