Forget the noise of the vuvuzela distracting the players, its more the Jabulani football that is proving the bane of the 2010 World Cup participants so far.

Chief among the Adidas Fifa-approved football's detractors unsurprisingly are goalkeepers - though England's Robert Green cannot put it down to his howler in the 1-1 draw with the United States.

"Rotten" opined Spain's Iker Casillas, "unpredictable" commented Italy's World Cup winning 'keeper Gianluigi Buffon, who went on to say that it was "a disgrace that such a rotten ball was being used in such a great tournament".

Two of their South American brethren were evidently thinking of their holidays after the tournament as Brazil's Julio Cesar remarked it was of the sort of quality you buy in a supermarket while Chile's Claudio Bravo thought it was better-suited to 'beach volleyball'.

The poor old ball doesn't escape criticism from outfield players either with Slovenia's captain Robert Koren saying after the opening 1-0 victory over Algeria on Sunday that it was hard to control long passes.

He also graciously tried to avert blame for his goal from the Algerian goalkeeper Chaouchi's blunder by saying the ball had played a role in it.

Not surprisingly both Adidas and Fifa have been equlaly vociferous in defending the offending item.

"There are strict Fifa guidelines on the ball (weight, size, bounce depending on what the temperature is)," commented Adidas.

"Not only does our ball fulfill all these conditions but in fact they go beyond them.

"Our ball has been tested and received the highest level of approval.

"The ball was launched in December. Since then it has been used in the United States, Germany, Argentina... without any negative comments. There is absolutely no reason to change the ball, it is the best model that we have ever produced," they added defiantly.

Fifa's chief poress officer Nicolas Maingot also came to its defence publicly.

"The ball has been tested and approved, we have received no complaints since the teams started practicing with it, in February," he said.

However, an Australian scientist Derek Leinweber, based at Adelaide University, concluded after a series of computer tests that the ball goes faster and is more unpredictable than its predecessors.

"That means the goalkeeper can no longer really anticipate its trajectory," he said.

However, it is not all doom and gloom from the players as 2008 World footballer of the year Cristiano Ronaldo who believes that everything will turn out alright.

"We just have to adapt, whether it is good, bad or indifferent, I am convinced that things will work out alright, whether it be dribbling, shooting and corners." - Sapa-AFP