England's Jamie Carragher believes Germany gained a huge World Cup advantage by ensuring their players had four months to get used to the ball they banged into the net four times against Australia.
The controversial Jabulani balls were introduced by Bundesliga clubs sponsored by their German-based manufacturer
adidas in February and Carragher believes that has given England's biggest rivals an edge that was apparent in their
impressive 4-0 win over the Socceroos in their opening match on Sunday.
"That is exactly what we were saying as we were watching," Carragher said.
"It gives them an advantage anyway. Certainly, that is true. It is obvious. The ball is very different. Every
training session we do we always start with a ball between two, passing 30 or 40 yards to each other just for that reason
alone. I am sure it has helped them."
FIFA and adidas insist that any difficulty players have encountered with the balls here is down to the effect of
altitude, not anything to do with the design.
That stance has been disputed by numerous players and Carragher believes designers will always try to tweak the
specifications of balls to generate more goals.
"When you are making a ball for the World Cup the idea is to create more goals I think and get it to do strange things
to make it a more exciting tournament.
"But every cross I have seen has been overhit. It goes over the back post. I haven't seen anyone get a free-kick over
the wall yet.
"It just seems to sail straight over the bar. Looking at the start, maybe it is not doing what people expected. People
thought there would be more goals but apart from Germany I don't think there have been too many goals in the tournament."
Despite his criticism of the ball, Carragher said nothing should be taken away from an impressive performance that
underlined that Germany will once again be a force to be reckoned with at the World Cup.
"They played so well. I am not looking for an excuse. You are trying not to hype them up too much because of how well
they played. It is something to cling to, that they might have been playing with the ball (for longer). I have had two or
three texts about it."