With most of the soccer world focusing on this week's Euro 2012 qualifying matches, Adidas has made headlines by announcing that it intends to make next summer's tournament ball faster than the "Jabulani" ball Adidas created for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
The "Jabulani," built to be fast and unpredictable in the air, drew complaints from goalkeepers, outfield players, managers, commentators and fans, however Adidas remains undeterred in constructing an even quicker ball.
"We will certainly make the ball faster and hopefully, we'll see a lot of goals being scored at next year's tournament in Poland and Ukraine," Adidas chief executive Herbert Hainer told the Daily Mirror.
"As for Jabulani, we certainly underestimated high altitude, at which the tournament in South Africa was played," he continued.
"As for the complaints from goalkeepers, as soon as the tournament started, everyone was quiet because people were just enjoying watching the games. And in the Champions League we've seen no complaints at all."
While Hainer is accurate in noting the high altitudes at which the 2010 World Cup was played, he severely underplays the negative criticism the ball received even before the start of the tournament — from the players tasked with putting the ball into the back of the net.
"The new balls are a disaster. It's not only a problem for goalkeepers, but also for us strikers," said Italian forward Giampaolo Pazzini.
"When a cross comes in, you go to head the ball, but it moves half a meter and you end up just shaving it on contact."
Not to be outdone, the ever outspoken Robinho offered even harsher criticism, saying, "For sure the guy who designed this ball never played football."
Whether Adidas will succeed in its goal of turning the 2012 Euro tournament into soccer's version of Wiffle ball remains to be seen. However, it would be fantastic if the German manufacturers could extricate themselves from the limelight long enough to produce a normal ball and leave the goal scoring to the professionals, and of course Rob Green.
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