Saturday, 19 June 2010

African Soil to Blame for Green's Error and Poor Control in World Cup

England keeper, Robert Green, may have been unfairly lambasted for the apparent handling error in the opening group game with the USA. Dropped by Capello for the "mistake", it now seems that the West Ham keeper may have been the victim of African soil and poor preparation by the England management team.

Soil Technician Andreas Ondergrond of the University of Stockholm explained: "The soil in Africa is very different from the soil in Europe. Apart from the pigment - it is red rather than brown - it has a totally different density and does not compact in the same way. This means that it is much more prone to fragmentation and dislocation, even under the slightest pressure."

Asked to explain how this was relevant, Professor Ondergrond continued: "When a ball bounces on a pitch in Europe, the ground beneath the turf does not shift and so the bounce of the ball is true. In Africa, however, this is not the case. Even a ball rolling across the turf is enough to cause fragmentation and dislocation of the soil beneath, causing pits, pockets and mini mounds which will invariably result in slight deviation of the ball or in a marginal acceleration or deceleration in the ball's velocity."

This, it seems could account for the handling errors of the keepers and the poor ball control of top players like Wayne Rooney. The Professor explained: "There has been all this attention on the ball itself but a ball is a ball. The majority of errors have come because the ball has taken a small "kick" when in contact with the ground or because it has "stopped" fractionally due to the break up of the sub soil."

He continued: "If you watch the incident with the England keeper closely, you see that his hands are in position marginally too early and this is because the ball has been fractionally stunned. The ball then moves to the left very, very marginally. We are only talking a fraction of a second in the change of velocity and a half a centimeter of deviation from the true, but that is enough to undermine the keeper's technique. In England, Green's technique would have seen him collect the ball without difficulty but in Africa, we all saw the catastrophic result."

To support his claim, Ondergrond explained: "The Springbok antelope has specifically evolved to utilise the spring of the African soil. The animal is not heavy and skips across the surface of the turf but, when it needs to change direction suddenly, its specially evolved hooves and joints enable it to harness the spring afforded by the subsoil."

According to Ondergrond, England made a terrible mistake by opting to train at altitude rather than on the problematic African soil. "Think of beach football. Does the ball run and bounce truly on loose sand? Of course not. Well a similar principle is applying here and the watering of the turf is simply compounding the problem. That is why so many players have been losing control of the ball."


H4MM3R said...

That's the reason why Trinidad and Tobago were eliminated at the group stage back in summer 2006 in Germany...they couldn't handle the ball due to the European soil!

Hammersfan said...

Spot on Deane.

Hammersfan said...

Didn't they go out because of hair pulling H4MM3R?

Anonymous said...

You've unearthed a proper crackpot there! It's got nowt to do with the soil. It's because when water goes down the plughole in the southern hemisphere, it spins in the opposite direction to what it does at home. That same effect is what makes the ball misbehave. Obvious really!

Anonymous said...

I doubt very much that has anything to do with it. There were not these problems when the WC was held in Argentina. The soil is an interesting explanation. I read this article on a Geophysics Today site. Seems there's something in this.