World Cup 2022: how technology is changing matches

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From the ball stuffed with sensors to cameras capable of scrutinizing the slightest movements of the players, technology is turning the 2022 World Cup upside down. Even sometimes changing the face of the matches.

World Cup 2022: how technology is changing matches

This Sunday, France will meet Argentina in the final of the 2022 World Cup. For this edition, a new actor (or rather a new actress) has played an important role in the physiognomy of matches. She is technology.

More than ever, this World Cup has taken advantage of technological progress to assist the refereeing corps. From in-ball sensors to ultra-precise cameras, technology has played a vital role in this World Cup. So much so that certain game facts have been avoided thanks to it.

The Al Rihla ball, inflated with technology

The sewn leather round ball is ancient history. In 2022, one of the players on the pitch was indeed the ball, baptized Al Rihla (“the journey” in Arabic). Full of sensors and technologies of all kinds, it received praise from all participants, from coaches to players and referees.

This new generation ball was in itself a real assistant for the referees in charge of VAR (virtual assistance to refereeing). Thanks to its multiple sensors, including its geospatial sensor, referees in the booth could follow the exact position of the ball to the nearest millimeter.

This precision, coupled with other sensors, made it possible, for example, to know when the ball had crossed a line (sideline, goal, corner) but also to help the referees determine if an action resulted in a fault. , or not.

The sensors made it possible to know when a player kicked the ball and to determine whether an opponent had touched it well or if he had committed a fault. Offside positions have also been whistled thanks to this technology with, in some cases, the cancellation of goals for only a few millimeters.

Some will say that a few millimeters would not have changed much in the action. It's true, but the rules are the rules and they are the same for everyone.

12 cameras scrutinizing the players

Zinedine Zidane's infamous headbutt does not would not have escaped. In addition to the tech-packed ball, the 22 players on the field were also monitored by 12 ultra-precise cameras.

Arranged on the roofs of each stadium, these jewels of technology are able to follow the movements of each player with disconcerting precision. 29 body parts of each player are analyzed 50 times per second to determine their position, study their movements etc.

Here again, the aim is to assist the refereeing corps. Over the years, the speed of play has increased considerably, which does not always allow the referees present on the field to scrutinize the behavior of the 22 players.

Thanks to this device, the referees can know with almost certainty if a player is in an offside position. Even more if the information from the cameras is associated with that of the ball. The discreet little shots that players once allowed themselves are captured by the cameras here. The faults are also less violent.

As proof, after 56 games in this World Cup, only two red cards had been issued by the referees.

More watched, the players therefore seem more hesitant about the idea of ​​”putting on soles”. A trend that some observers deplore. At the microphone of the Super Moscato Show, Eric Di Meco, consultant and former footballer (not the last to tackle the carotid artery), qualifies this World Cup as  Care Bear World Cup . And to add:

Football is a contact sport. I wouldn't like us to become a sanitized sport.

A contact sport, Eric. No full contact.

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