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World Cup ball gets NASA's official mark of disapproval

Vlad Savov

If you've been following World Cup tourneys through the noughties, you'll have noticed that criticizing the official tournament ball has turned into something of an unspoken tradition. The latest offender of football purists' stringent standards is the Adidas Jabulani ball, which was introduced especially for World Cup 2010. That wouldn't be notable in itself, but this time it's apparently gotten bad enough for NASA to pipe up and drop some science on the subject. The aerodynamics experts (at least we hope they're experts) of the American space agency have said that the 440-gram ball becomes unpredictable when propelled at over 44mph, resulting in the unnatural swerves and deviations that have been plaguing footballers this year. So there you have it, England, Italy and France: a rock solid excuse to pin your lackadaisical exhibitions of mediocrity this year -- it was the ball's fault.

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