Beckenbauer showcases golden ball

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src=' ' class='caption'> Soccer legend Franz Beckenbauer showed the golden ball on Tuesday that will be used in the finals of World Cup 2006.

updated: February 25, 2007 11:40 IST
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Soccer legend Franz Beckenbauer, also known as the Kaiser, showed the golden ball on Tuesday that will be used in the finals of World Cup 2006. The golden ball used in the final will be identical to those used throughout the month-long tournament in Germany, the only difference being that six of the 14 panels would be coloured gold. "We will supply each participating team with 20 footballs ahead of the World Cup so they can start practicing," said Herbert Hainer, CEO, Adidas. "We are very happy. Everything is working out fine and none of our projects are delayed. We could actually start tomorrow," said Beckenbauer, who is the president of the organising committee. Turbulent run-up The infrastructure may be in place, but hosts Germany have had a turbulent run-up to the world cup, with coach Klinsmann coming in for criticism from the Kaiser himself. Beckenbauer though had a word of praise for veteran Oliver Kahn, who was replaced as the first-choice keeper by Jens Lehmann. "I think he [Oliver Kahn] acted in a very world champion-type of fashion. He did not push himself into the limelight but instead wants to assist the cause," said Beckenbauer. The sets of 15 balls for each match at the tournament will for the first time have the names of the teams, venue, date and kickoff time inscribed on them. They will all be made in Thailand, with the exception of the 15 golden balls which will be produced in Germany.