England “devastated” by World Cup ball

England’s footballers have suffered a massive setback ahead of the World Cup, after discovering that the official adidas ball used in the competition has been modified not to work when kicked using English feet.

Players and coaches alike are said to be “devastated” by the news that the new ball will travel no further than 3 metres aerially for any English player, scuppering the team’s world-famous “3D Football” approach and forcing many to resort to passing along the ground – a method at which England teams are traditionally renowned to be weaker.

A source close to the England team revealed: “This has thrown everyone into panic and no-one’s quite sure of a way to counter the difficulty posed by the new ball. I had a look at both the French and Brazilian teams, who were training nearby a few days back, and the exact same ball seemed to move effortlessly from player to player as they weaved around one another with the grace of a gazelle. When our lads got to use the thing, its behaviour changed dramatically, sailing metres over the crossbar one minute, then dipping almost immediately afterwards. If I didn’t know any better, I would say it had been rigged to make our players look stupid. Especially given the way it kept slipping between David James’s hands all the time.”

England striker Emile Heskey summed up the team’s worry when he said yesterday: “That ball is crazy – it comes off my feet twice as fast and swerves almost perpendicular to where I intend to hit it. I think a lot of us are going to have to make some major adjustments, which is easier said than done on the eve of the biggest competition of your entire life. It’s strange, though, because Ronaldo was down here the day before yesterday and we were doing spot-kicks. He planted one straight into the top-corner with no problems whatsoever, then hit a beauty into the opposite corner straight after. Yet when I struck the EXACT same ball from the EXACT same position towards EXACTLY the same goal, it sailed almost out of the ground and bounced off four rows of seats before hitting our physio square in the face, causing his nose to bleed which, due to the altitude, took four and a half hours to subside. I’ll leave you to draw your own conclusions on that one…”

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