Crossing the line – goal-line tech debuted

It was the England midfielder's disallowed, long-range effort against Germany at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa which galvanised FIFA into pursuing a scientific solution to proving whether or not the ball had crossed the line.

The football world body is trialling two technologies at the showpiece club event – GoalRef, which was used for the first time in a match ever on Thursday, and Hawk-Eye, debuting Sunday in the match between Ulsan Hyundai and Monterrey.

FIFA billed Thursday's match as a "revolution", but the lack of close calls meant it passed with few clues about the success or failure of GoalRef, which uses magnetic fields around the goal and a special ball fitted with a chip.

Bosses at Hawk-Eye, which is familiar due to its decade-long use in tennis and cricket and uses cameras to track a ball's position and trajectory, are hopeful its introduction will be considerably more dramatic than its rival's.

"We have proved the technology's ability to FIFA during the installation tests in the run-up to the tournament," Steve Carter, of the British-based but Sony-owned Hawk-Eye Innovations, told a press conference in Toyota.


"But obviously it would be very very nice to have a 'phantom goal' moment at some point during this tournament so we can show to the world how effective this system is," he added in response to a question by AFP.

Fans have called for years for the football world to embrace technology aimed at eliminating human error.

FIFA granted licences to Hawk-Eye and GoalRef following a lengthy testing process lasting around two years.

No alterations
One is likely to be chosen for June's Confederations Cup in Brazil, and the World Cup in 2014, after an analysis of their performances during the intercontinental event in Japan, which features European champions Chelsea.

Carter said he felt Hawk-Eye had the edge because it required no alterations to the ball or the goal-line area.

"It is a huge benefit that we don't actually have to interfere with the game on the field of play in any way," he said.

"We don't require any special adaptations to the posts or any special adaptations to the ball.

"Our technology is completely passive. It leaves the game alone."

Germany's GoalRef is being trialled at Yokohama International Stadium while Hawk-Eye is being put to the test during matches in Toyota, with each getting four of the event's eight games.

GoalRef will be back in action on December 13 when Chelsea – Lampard's team – enter the tournament at the semi-final stage, against either Ulsan or Monterrey. – Sapa-AFP.

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