Europass - Power, Swerve, Control
Surely there is only so much you can do to improve a football? But as official sponsors for Euro 2008 Adidas had to come up with something new and saleable for the tournament's official match ball.
You may think that as long as the ball is round and inflated it's good to go. But that kind of narrow mindedness would preclude you from becoming a boffin in the Adidas laboratory where they have discovered a way to make the ball even rounder and to improve its air retention.
According to the egg-heads, the tennis ball-like panel shapes used in the construction of the Europass eliminates surface irregularities and makes for a perfectly round ball; not only that, but the latex inner bladder provides the best air retention you can get.
Impressed? Well it doesn't stop there.
The cover is made of thermally-bonded polyurethane leather which gives the ball a soft feel and sure flight, a minimal level of water absorption and resistance to abrasion. And when you are paying out £65 for a football it must be reassuring to know that the underglass printed design ensures its looks don't deteriorate with age.
Now you may think that would be enough innovations for a single football design but not for those tinker men at Adidas HQ. Their attention to detail is such that the valve is counter-weighted to provide better flight and the external PSC-Texture (a scientifically-engineered micro-texture that the spherical specialists knocked up in their spare time) has been added to provide greater friction and increased Power, more Swerve due to increased spin ratio and more Control thanks to greater contact between boot and ball.
Eureka! I hear you cry. Science has finally answered all my prayers. The ultimate football has been created!
But what does all that marketable gumpf actually mean? Well after rigorous testing by the ESPNsoccernet football team it boils down to this: it's light, when you smash in a shot it swerves brilliantly away from the keeper and the micro-texture grips do actually make it easier to control.
It's a great product if you love firing shots from all angles but not so good if you're a goalkeeper.
I fully expect to hear wannabe freekick specialists and dodgy keepers blaming this high-tech ball for their blunders in Austria and Switzerland this summer.