Nigeria miss out on vital World Cup ball preparation

Nigerian World Cup preparations will be hindered in the 2 June friendly with England because of Football Association's long-term commitment to Nike which means they cannot use the tournament ball.

England appear set to play only one of their three remaining World Cup warm-up matches with the tournament ball the Times reported on Tuesday.

Several participating nations, including Germany and Spain, have played friendlies with the Adidas Telstar ball that will be used at the June-July tournament in Russia.

However, Gareth Southgate's England will use the Nike Ordem V ball in the friendly against Italy at Wembley on Tuesday as part of the FA's contract with their American apparel and ball supplier which runs until 2030.

The Times said the Ordem V ball would also be used in England's next warm-up fixture against Nigeria on June 2 but Nike had allowed the FA to test the Adidas ball in the final friendly against Costa Rica on June 7.

Spanish goalkeeper David de Gea has already criticised the World Cup ball following last week's 1-1 draw against Germany, saying it was hard to grip because it was coated with protective plastic.

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