More than 1,000 robots have rolled onto a football pitch in the Netherlands to show off their sporting skills. The machines might not be able to bend the ball like Beckham, their attacks lack the pace of a Barcelona charge and they struggle to stay on their feet as much as some professional players do.
However, a wifi internet connection allows them to communicate with their team mates and built-in celebrations rival those of Peter Crouch, the former England player famed for his robotic dance moves. Organisers of the RoboCup tournament hope a team of all-star androids will be able to defeat the human World Cup winners by 2050, although team members at the event in Eindhoven admit more training is needed. Marcell Missura, of the University of Bonn, said the robots’ game was “starting to look soccer” but added: “To be honest, I think a three-year-old could win against any of the humanoid teams.” However, Dickens He, of the University of Pennsylvania, said: “There are no mistakes – a robot does what it is programmed to do.”