Pumped for the big match and guaranteed to stay firm under pressure BOC Sureserve's floating footballer - created specially for the launch of the hospitality specialist\\$quot;s World Cup 2006 balloon packs - could prove a winner for licensees when time is called on the greatest festival of football in the world.

Made of over 400 balloons and sporting the England strip the BOC Sureserve floating footballer will be the centre piece of BOC\\$quot;s display at Pub and Bar - a unique reminder to visitors that with the World Cup 2006 just six weeks away, now is the time to order patriotic \\$quot;˜extras\\$quot; for their bar or restaurant.

The sculpture was created in three stages by balloon artist Ian Herd beginning with forty metres of aluminium rods bent by hand to form a skeleton framework. The frame was then wrapped in cling film and painted in the same colour as the balloons which cover it. Finally the laborious job of filling each balloon with air, sizing it to fit the design then tying and gluing each balloon into position.

Herd said: \\$quot;The sculpture tries to capture the dynamic essence of the game by generating a sense of movement and fluidity throughout the footballer\\$quot;s body. The hardest and most time consuming part was the head, using 200 special 260Q type balloons to depict the free flowing and distinctive ringlets sported by some of the world\\$quot;s top footballers.\\$quot;

Alongside the sculpture at Pub and Bar BOC Sureserve will be showcasing its series of four World Cup 2006 balloon packages which feature as their centrepiece, a replica England World Cup 2006 shirt balloon licensed by the Football Association.

BOC Sureserve product manager, Reena Jobanputra said: \\$quot;Whether England is doing well or not BOC Sureserve\\$quot;s experience is that football balloons always generate a great atmosphere.