Balls. It’s all balls.

With 5 days to go until the start of Euro 2008, some of Europe’s top goalkeepers have been getting in some early gripes about the tournament ball, the Europass by Adidas.

It could down to the fact that the name of the ball that will be used in the final is the ‘Gloria’. Perhaps the ‘Claudia’ might have been a better name and, given a well known supermodel of the same name, it could be that the boys in green (or whatever colour they wear these days) might have tried a bit harder to get hold of it. Name aside, Jens Lehmann and Italy’s Marco Amelia aren’t too chuffed.

Euro 2008 Adidas Europass Gloria football

Germany’s Lehmann said over the weekend that “I have had a few problems with the official balls, I only started working with them a week ago, but they are very different from the ones used for the 2006 World Cup. During the first half, I went to catch the ball and it started to float a bit! I hope that in the days to come, when I have found a little bit of freshness, I shall be able to have time to train with shots coming in from a distance.”

His views were endorsed, to a degree, by Italy’s Marco Amelia who commented “It changes direction. To not make a mess trying to stop it, it’s better to beat it away.”

It’s not new for goalkeepers to have a moan about tournament balls before a big event gets underway. Indeed, if you end up having a howler, much better to have got a dig in ‘early doors’ about the equipment being used.

England’s Paul Robinson voiced similar concerns ahead of the 2006 World Cup finals. He didn’t like the Adidas Teamgeist. Not that Robinson is enjoying much teamgeist (German for team spirit) at the moment as he’s not even in the team.

At the time he said “It’s very goalkeeper unfriendly. It’s very light and moves a lot in the air.”

And surprise, surprise, who else do you think also had a pop at the Teamgeist. Our old friend Jens Lehmann who said “”It’s a ball for the outfield players and the crowd – not for the goalkeepers.”

For the record, the Adidas Europass is constructed out of 14 panels using revolutionary Thermal Bonding Technology. This combined with the new PSC-Texture surface structure, according to Adidas, gives it perfect handling characteristics and allows the players exceptional ball control. The unique outer skin improves power transmission, creates greater swerve and increases accuracy on the pitch, in all conceivable weather conditions.

Euro 2008 Adidas Europass Gloria football presentation

Having supplied balls to all major Uefa and Fifa tournaments since 1970, the spate of moaning shotstoppers is unlikely to phase Adidas who maintain that the ball has been strenuously tested both in England and Germany.

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