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) played an important role in the physiognomy of the 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 could be avoided thanks to it.

The Al Rihla balloon, inflated with technology

The sewn leather round ball is ancient history. In 2022, one of the actors on the ground was indeed the ball, baptized Al Rihla (“the journey” in Arabic). Loaded with sensors and technologies of all kinds, it has received praise from all participants, from coaches to players to 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, in particular its geospatial sensor, the 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 hit the ball and to determine whether an opponent had hit him well or if he had committed a fault. Offside positions have also been whistled using 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. True, but the rules are the rules and they are the same for everyone.

12 cameras that scan the players

Zinedine Zidane’s infamous headbutt would not have escaped them. In addition to the tech-packed ball, the 22 players on the pitch 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.

Proof, after 56 games in this World Cup, only two red cards were taken out by the referees.

More watched, the players therefore seem more cautious about the idea of ​​“putting on soles”. A trend that some observers deplore. Au micro du Super Moscato ShowEric Di Meco, consultant and former footballer (not the last to tackle the carotid artery), describes this World Cup as “Care Bear World Cup”. And to add:

It’s a contact sport, football. I would not like us to become a sanitized sport.

A contact sport, Eric. No full contact.

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