The 2018 FIFA World Cup is set to get under way in Russia on 14 June and as it kicks off, the tournament has a number of 21st century technical innovations in play alongside the teams.
The various technological tools in the background are set to provide additional support to referees and give extra information to the teams during the 64 matches.
Goal-Line Technology was introduced at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
Referees will again have this tool in Russia.
Using information from 14 high-speed cameras, a signal is sent within one second to the referee’s watch indicating when the ball has crossed the goal line.
Video Assistant Referee
In March, the International Football Association Board approved use of video assistant referee (VAR) in football.
This World Cup will be the first to offer video technology as an additional tool for referees. But it will only be used to "correct clear and obvious errors and missed incidents in clearly defined match-changing decisions", according to FIFA.
The referees can decide to rely on the verbal information from the video assistant referee or to review the video footage themselves on the sideline before making their decision.
This new technology, based on broadcast and audio equipment, was customised over the last two years to the specific needs of football in order to best possibly meet the overriding philosophy of VAR "minimum interference, maximum benefit".
Electronic Performance & Tracking Systems
The third major hidden technology available at each match consists of a number of tools and communication equipment for both teams.
The teams’ technical and medical staff will have dedicated workstations and a dedicated line to communicate with the coaching and medical staff on the bench.
FIFA says the positional data from two optical tracking cameras that track the players and ball will be available to the analysts in real time alongside live footage from selected tactical cameras.
The insights from the technical information and the communication link allow for constant real-time interaction that can feed into their decisions during the match.
Telstar 18 official match ball
The official match ball for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia was revealed late last year as the Adidas Telstar 18. This is based on the original Telstar used in the 1970 FIFA World Cup.
The name is a combination of television and star and the black and white panels were designed to stand out on black-and-white TVs.
The 2018 version features a new carcass, high technology and recycled packaging and also includes an embedded Near-Field Communication (NFC) chip, enabling interaction with smartphones.
The designers at Adidas say the ball has "taken football innovation and design to a new level and offers both consumers and players a completely new experience".
Ultimately it will be fans who will judge the success of the tournament as a spectacle, but FIFA hope the extra technological input will go some way to improving matters on the pitch.
Live coverage of all 64 games will be broadcast across RTÉ2, RTÉ Player and RTÉ News Now alongside a dedicated World Cup 2018 website.