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FIFA to implement goal line tech in 2014 World Cup

At future World Cups, it will probably be rare to see a miscalled goal ruin the momentum of the game. Here's why.

GoalRef, a contender to become FIFA's official goal-line technology, uses soccer balls with embedded microchips and goalpost sensors to detect successful soccer shots.
Screenshot by Christopher MacManus/CNET

Imagine yourself as England's Frank Lambard playing against Germany in a preliminary match during the 2010 FIFA World Cup. After kicking a solid game-tying shot, you watch the ball oddly bounce downward off the top rail, then in and out of the goal. Even though video footage proves otherwise, the referees disallow the score and Germany eventually goes on to win the game.

Fortunately, such epic miscalls seem less likely to happen during the 2014 World Cup and beyond, as the soccer-regulating organization FIFA plans to utilize a highly accurate sensor system capable of detecting successful shots and ensuring the referees should get the call right every time.

Either Sony's Hawk-Eye multi-camera system or GoalRef's intelligent ball/goalpost sensors -- both successful in trials during the 2012 FIFA Club World Cup -- could become the standard automated goal officiator in the league. Both systems notify referees about a goal through a corresponding watch that vibrates when a ball passes the goal line.

FIFA remains undecided about which company to use for goal line tech. Two unannounced companies, based in Germany, each proposed other goal-tracking technologies to FIFA and remain in consideration against Hawk-Eye and GoalRef. FIFA says it plans an official announcement this April, so expect a demo of the chosen system during the 2013 Confederations Cup international tournament. Whichever way things go, fans of professional footie should enjoy a much more accurate experience in the future.

Watch FIFA's highly informative video about goal line technology for more information.