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Friday, 14 June, 2002, 08:04 GMT 09:04 UK
Irish put faith in football software
Ireland take on Saudi Arabia
Did software help Ireland defeat Saudi Arabia?
The Irish football team have a secret weapon in their armoury as they prepare to do battle with Spain in the knockout round of the World Cup.

As Ireland look forward to their toughest test in the championships so far, a piece of computer software could help prepare the team for a historic victory.

A program called Sportscode records all matches from the television and breaks down every move into an easily accessible database.

This allows coaches and players to conduct an in-depth analysis of their own games or those of the opposition.

Digital edge

As digital camcorders record a match, the information is fed directly into a computer.


You can develop a strategy to beat them at their own game

Emma Bullock, iSport
Then every free kick, corner, penalty or the overall performance of any individual player can be brought together within seconds to analyse where things went wrong or right.

It is an advance on the old-fashioned method of videoing each game and fast-forwarding and freezing on crucial moments.

"You could look at all the free kicks Germany has taken and see if there is a strategy or patterns emerging," explained Emma Bullock, director of iSport, the UK distributor of the software package.

"Then you can develop a strategy to beat them at their own game,"

Winning tool?

The big question will be whether it can help Ireland win on Sunday.

"I hope so. I'm sure it can," said Ms Bullock.

"You can see what is happening. It is not just running through a video tape. Players can identify key moments in past games and see what they did that made them win," she added.

Ms Bullock acknowledged that the players' skill will have something to do with the performance.

But any added extra help is bound to be welcomed by manager Mick McCarthy and the army of expectant Irish fans gathered in Suwon, Korea.

Sportscode is also used by US basketball teams, English hockey teams and both Watford and Bolton football clubs.

At the World Cup, the Fifa referees, South Korea and China are also using the package to analyse games.

See also:

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