Sunday, June 25, 2006

Teamgeist: strikers and keepers

Footballs are high-tech products, and the Teamgeist took three years to develop according to adidas . Something which has been noticable has been the number of long range goals scored from outside the penalty box. So far the tally is 20 per cent of the total scored in 2006 compared to 9.31% of the goals scored in 2002. The Teamgeist certainly favours the long kick and spot kick (dead ball) specialists. The new ball is a hit with adidas sponsored, David Beckham and Brazil's Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite (aka Kak√° ). Germany's Torsten Frings (who plays for a national squad sponsored by adidas)agrees the Teamgeist is perfectly suited for long-range shots. The new ball has fewer seams with only 14 and not the 32 of its predicesors and has an air valve designed to avoid imbalance according to adidas. The Teamgeist is the roundest football ever made and these claims have been upheld by Stiftung Warentest , an independent German group who tested the ball. Meantime what do the keepers think? Jens Lehmann (Germany) and Paul Robinson (England) both agree the Teamgeist is very fast but does change its flight path in the rain. It feels like a plastic ball and can become extremely slippery in wet conditions and handles like a waterpolo ball which is a real hazard to goal keepers. By chance Robinson has an endorsement deal with Nike, a company which also outfits Lehmann's English club, Arsenal.

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