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The quadrennial festival of kvetching about the new World Cup ball is in full force again this year, but the LA Times reports that this time the kvetchers might have more of a point than usual:

“It’s very weird,” Brazilian striker Luis Fabiano said. “All of a sudden it changes trajectory on you. It’s like it doesn’t want to be kicked … like someone is guiding it…. It’s supernatural.”

Teammate Julio Cesar was more succinct. “It’s horrible,” the Brazilian goalkeeper said….”It moves around so much … this ball can go anywhere,” said Marcus Hahnemann, the backup U.S. goalkeeper. “You can’t judge it. And it’s taking the skill away from the game…. You can’t pinpoint a pass anymore.”

….”The ball’s terrible,” U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard said. “You’re going to hear that now, you’re going to hear that next week and next month.”

This sounds great! I can hardly wait until some pipsqueak team like, say, the United States, ends up beating Argentina on a bizarre fluke play where the ball suddenly starts acting like Sean White on a halfpipe and dives into the net a full body length away from the astonished goalie. Sounds like great TV.

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