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Football: does the Euro 2024 ball favour attackers?

Football: does the Euro 2024 ball favour attackers?
Balloons before a Group A match between Germany and Hungary at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Stuttgart, Germany.   -  
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Euro 2024 got off to a flying start, with spectacular goals flying from all sides. Could a $170 high-tech soccer ball be the reason for this success?

Adidas' Fussballliebe, meaning "love of football" in German, is the official ball of the European Championship . The players seem to have quickly mastered it, as evidenced by the many astonishing and long-range goals they have scored.

“It’s fast ,” Kane said. "It's better for strikers or scorers than for goalkeepers, so I'm not going to complain about it." The fans aren't complaining after so many spectacular goals either.

There was Arda Guler 's curling strike into the top corner from around 20 yards out in Turkey 's 3–1 win over Georgia . In the same match, his teammate Mert Muldur volleyed at the edge of the penalty area.

Romania's Nicolae Stanciu scored another goal from distance against Ukraine and almost scored straight from a corner that hit the crossbar.

Xherdan Shaqiri scored a legendary goal for Switzerland against Scotland, and there were missiles from Italian Nicolo Barella and Czech Lukas Provod .

“The balls in these tournaments are not really designed for goalkeepers ,” says Danish goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel . "It's a pleasure to hit. You can reach a good distance. They are certainly not made for the goalkeeper's handling . "

Official footballs have been criticized in the past. Some players complained that the Jabulani ball for the 2010 World Cup was unpredictable. According to UEFA, the Fussballliebe was designed for "precision and consistency, promoting fast, precise play with maximum shape and air retention" .

It is made from recycled polyester and more "sustainable materials" than balls used for previous tournaments, including corn fiber, sugar cane and wood pulp.

It's not yet clear how much he contributed to Guler's goal, but smart ball technology helped VAR officials cancel out Romelu Lukaku 's late equalizer in Belgium 's surprise defeat to Slovakia ( 1-0).

UEFA is using connected ball technology for the first time during a European Championship. This technology makes it possible to identify each contact with the ball and send precise data to the video assistant referees. A chip attached to a gyroscope inside the ball sends data 500 times per second to record when the ball is kicked.

In combination with AI it can help determine offsides, but in Belgium's case it detected marginal handball from Loïs Openda in the build-up to Lukaku's disallowed goal in the 86th minute.

“The connected Adidas official ball sensor was able to accurately record the contact of the player's hand with the surface of the ball ,” UEFA said. “This was the first time that fast and precise technology supported a refereeing decision in a Euro 2024 match.”

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