The Qatar World Cup 2022 It is going through its first week of action, and it has already delivered great emotions. From the crushing debuts of France, England and Spain, to the surprises of Japan and Saudi Arabia after their triumphs over Germany and Argentina, respectively. However, there has also been room for controversy in the hands of technology, with the premiere of the semi-auto offside.
The new tool, which works as a complement to the already well-known VAR, has starred in some of the most controversial moments of the first group stage matches. It happened in the opening match between Qatar and Ecuadorwhen as soon as the game began, a goal for the South Americans was annulled because one of the soccer players who participated in the play was in off side by literally a foot.
But the controversy was quickly forgotten because Gustavo Alfaro’s Ecuadorians ended up beating the hosts 2-0. However, a new episode involving the semi-automatic offside took place on Tuesday, at the crossroads between Argentina and Saudi Arabia.
The albiceleste won it 1-0, but during the first 45 minutes another three goals were canceled due to advanced positions marked with technology. Of all the plays, one aroused the greatest anger in the Argentine fans: the one of the goal of Lautaro Martínez. The Inter Milan attacker defined in a great way against the Saudi goalkeeper, but the semi-automatic offside ruled that the footballer was in off side by the position of your shoulder. Something imperceptible to the human eye.
And the controversy was greater when it became known an analysis of Nacho Tellado, who developed the offside technology that was later copied by FIFA. The Spanish architect revealed that the VAR compared the Argentine’s position against the wrong Saudi player, since another was slightly behind and validated the play.
Of course, this situation generated a greater commotion due to the final result, which ended with a historic 2-1 win for Saudi Arabia. This marked the first defeat in 32 years for Argentina in a World Cup debut – the last time it had been against Cameroon in Italy 90.
How is the Qatar 2022 semi-automatic offside used?
Technically, the technology behind the semi-automatic offside is very interesting. Each Qatar 2022 World Cup stadium has 12 cameras on its roof, which follow both the ball and the 22 footballers. In the case of players, detect 29 specific points on your body that are taken into account when penalizing the offside. And all that information is sent 50 times per second to calculate their exact positions.
On the other hand, the Al Rihla ball, from Adidas, has a sensor called Inertial Measurement Unit. This can detect exactly when a footballer touches it, and sends the data 500 times per second.
All this information is processed with artificial intelligence, to send an alert to the VAR referees if an improper position is detected. But as his name says, the semi-automatic offside still requires the participation of the assistant judge, who must raise the flag to invalidate the action after receiving notification from his colleagues.
It is also important to mention that this system generate 3D animations that are used to more easily demonstrate the invalidity of the plays. They are shown both on the screens of each stadium, and on international television broadcasts. However, FIFA has received strong criticism for the delay in the appearance of these graphics, which in some cases have only been seen several minutes after the actions have taken place.
The mother entity of world soccer has also been targeted for not testing this system with more time before Qatar 2022. Let’s keep in mind that, until the start of the tournament, it had only been used in the 2021 Club World Cup and Arab Cup; two contests far removed from the magnitude of the World Cup that today paralyzes the soccer planet.