How did England fans fare in the Mirror’s first ever online penalty shootout?

The people of England got their chance to be part of a World Cup-inspired penalty shootout yesterday – no athletic ability required. Instead, football fans took turns taking control of a unique soccer robot, specially built for The Mirror. Using their computer, tablet, or smartphone, they lined up the robot and fired footballs at some of the world’s best goalkeepers. Kind of. With the world’s best goalkeepers a little tied up right now, taking turns in the net were semi-professional keepers who had changed their names by deed poll to match their football heroes. (Oh come on, every four years I think we all at least consider it…)

The robot, the first of its kind, has a central command system called The Games Master, consisting of a PC running a custom code which connects to the web server hosting the online game system. It communicates with the machine via a microcontroller which operates the machine’s three motors.

So how did England fans match up to this piece of kit? About as well as England’s defence tends to hold up against Brazil. Or Spain. Or Italy. Or– OK, I’ll stop. Yep, Manuel Neuer (not that one) thrashed virtual England 114 to 82. At least we got some in the net. See how it all went down here.

Image via Damian du Toit’s Flickr.

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About the Author

Diane Shipley


Staff Writer Diane is especially interested in high-tech medical advances, weird and interesting uses of science, new gadgets, and the intersection of tech and lifestyle. When not working, she reads the internet, listens to podcasts, watches American TV, and thinks about leaving the house.

Diane ShipleyHow did England fans fare in the Mirror’s first ever online penalty shootout?