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How Artificial Intelligence Plays Football?

  • Neelam Tyagi
  • Sep 09, 2020
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“Football is like life - it requires perseverance, self-denial, hard work, sacrifice, dedication and respect for authority.” ― Vince Lombardi


In 2022, football season is coming, coaches across all over the world are wrenching their minds to speculate how to win the next game. Most of the time, coaches review previous game footage to polish their gaming strategies. The analysis of player performance is a huge process as an individual analyze various video recordings of a player's performances, it is time-consuming as well. Being confide on human acumen, it could be faulty that leads to bias.


“Artificial intelligence at the field of the football”.


Now, in the present scenario, a computer can do the same thing, various techniques exist today that can track the player’s performance at the pitch. On the same mark, this blog explains how a computer, an algorithm, or AI can help to make strategies in the world’s most loved and adored game, Football.



Football and Trending Technologies


The utilization of data in professional sports has increased essentially, so in football, the data volume is growing exponentially. It is difficult to capture all the associated data points, extract the information from them, and to represent such information into easy format, so that it can be quickly consumed, tailored and shared to progress team’s performance and win games. (Recommending blog: Role of Business Intelligence in the Sports Industry)


Big data presents huge insights in sports analysis, it helps coaches to do sorting and clipping information from training and competitive matches, which assists them in managing squads, deal with injuries and help in making strategic decisions.


“You get to hit the hardest when trying to run or hide from a problem. Like the defence on a football field, putting all focus on evading only one defender is asking to be blindsided.” ― Criss Jami, Killosophy


The potential of machine learning and artificial intelligence is being deployed by sports analysts as well to boost the player’s potential. New technologies are escalating the value of data, so crucial in complicated football matches with various events per game is deciphering into millions of data points. (content in reference with)


Machine learning is supporting players and their teams come up with the selective measurements and identify scenarios, impracticable to the human eye. It’s machines that render data for insights to be extracted. As ML algorithms emerge and become complex, they endure the elevated potential to boost performance on the sports track.


Artificial Intelligence can replicate such events that enable a data scientist to interpret insights and make suggestions in terms of what will befall on the pitch. This helps coaches to frame informed decisions on each player and is requisite in outfitting for a game. With the insights, it can be selective which players will be in team-sports and be profitable with a steady inversion within games like in the case of football.



AI Helps in Football 


The technology is going better now, AI is being employed in our day to day life with digital assistants on our mobiles and homes, and it is here to stay. (Read the blog that gives insights about how AI has changed our day to day life). Following are the ways, whereby applying technology in football, players get ahead.


  1. Making Strategic Decisions


AI can assist in preparing and cultivating teams’ strategies and approaches, in making game-changing decisions. Conventionally, coaches rely on their experience for making enhanced decisions, or by manually investigating opponents’ data that involves strength and weakness of players, arrangements and strategies adopted in prior matches, and the complete past data.


Through AI tools and techniques, one could be able to analyze the same easily, it helps in devising accessible tactics when making decisions, like, in team selections. It removes the emotional quotient and aids in determining a team, depending on facts genuinely, not on favouritism. 


For example, English Football club Leatherhead FC has been exploiting AI tools in order to understand the opponents’ teams and bring out vital approaches for the team. Also, the club has shaken hands with IBM to check the enterprise’s Watson Technology in the domain. The tech analyzed match data to compare information and examine Leatherhead’s rivals. Besides that, it also gives detailed feedback on queries, the players might experience. (Besides that, check here how AI has been leveraged by 10 companies in fascinating ways) 


  1. Devising Victorious Scheme 


As discussed earlier, with AI, data scientists assist football players to appear as an exceptional team with identified possibilities and aspiration measurements. Depending upon AI-based smart algorithms that can imitate various events, or matches, individual coaches can utilize these features to interpret interferences into action, derived from simulations. 


This, in turn, helps coaches to make informative decisions on players and as long as formulating for forthcoming games. From determining tactics and making predictions to decision making and selecting the right team for a particular match, AI is decisive for winning games eventually. (Source)


  1. Electing the best team


Most of the companies have developed AI-driven algorithms that help football coaches to make the right team by detecting players and poses, thus recognizing their movements, like, running, walking, jumping and which foot they are using to pass and kick the ball. 


For example, a german based AI company, JUST ADD AI, has supported a Bundesliga team to win matches through picking up the best players in making the suitable team. The company has made an AI tool that brings out insights from unstructured data and arranges them in a single-specified representation. 


Another example includes IBM’s Watson AI that delivers an intense outlook on players. Watson has trained to acquire examining reports and fetch the most associated details.


  1. Modifying Post-match Analysis


An AI system can be designed that a model of players movement with respect to each other and the ball, that can be implemented to study the performance. This model could contain players’ body postures, heart rate and gaming possibilities. This system enables to estimate current players’ skill. Even though, players can analyze how their actions could have caused a difference.


Evolving AI from regulated, wide game-style circumstances to sophisticated real-world applications continues a majestic hurdle, but humans are capable enough to learn and make decisions in complication problems. On the same track, from learning to simulate human decision making, AI will tackle all problems of unfamiliar circumstances at ease. 





Artificial intelligence and machine learning have already facilitated swift and enhanced decision making in the arena of various sports, as you have seen here how these technologies inflate football. AI induced algorithms can extract actionable intelligence/insights that augment numerous benefits to players and coaches. 


“If a man watches three football games in a row, he should be declared legally dead.” ― Erma Bombeck 


For those, who are concerned in this fascinating game, artificial intelligence has unhitched many related instances that might be eminent for them. In the coming time, AI must uncover brilliant modes of playing football as teams will leverage technology to formulate match-winning opportunities.

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