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World Cup 2014: Goal-line technology has proved its worth, says Martin Tyler

Martin Tyler - Martin Tyler Posted 14th June 2014 view comments

When I arrived in Fortaleza on Monday afternoon, it completed my first week since I left London for the 2014 World Cup.

The three-hour flight north from Rio meant that I had spent 25 hours in the air since boarding at Heathrow; more than one whole day in just one week.

The domestic airline TAM are proving to be comfortable and efficient carriers of the thousands of fans and media who are trying to make the most of this vast and vibrant country. In one way, though, they make no concession to the paying passenger.

France were aided by goal-line technology for their second goal against Honduras

France were aided by goal-line technology for their second goal against Honduras

Whether it is the short hop from Rio to Sao Paulo - the “Air Bridge” as they call it - or the five-hour hike in the skies I took from Sao Paulo to Manaus, the in-flight food is confined to one item.

Coming from the land of the ham sandwich, and indeed the jam sandwich, I am now surviving my aerial jaunts on the TAM sandwich! I have learned to treasure it. Each morsel has to be savoured because you know from the outset now that it is all that you are going to get. And it’s always the same: cheese and processed meat.

However, all the TAM flights so far have been bang on time and as a regular traveller, I would gladly swap the niceties of European airlines for a more punctual schedule.

Technology

The games are coming so thick and fast that it is harder here to get the overview which you have back home. However, I did catch some of the France-Honduras action on TV and the moment which proved the value of goal-line technology.

It was needed twice in the blink of an eye to say “No Goal” as Karim Benzema crashed his shot against the inside of a post and then “Goal” when the ball hit the Honduran goalkeeper and for a fraction of a second was over the line. I am sure it would not have been awarded without the technology, such was the speed of the incident. 

In Fortaleza, I saw Mexico’s goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa make sure that the technology was not needed with an outstanding display to shut out Brazil.

Ochoa was third choice in their 2006 World Cup squad, second choice in 2010 and has now finally reached number-one status.

He will be 29 on July 13, World Cup Final day, and though Mexico are unlikely to be there, they certainly questioned Brazil’s pedigree as potential finalists.

Luiz Felipe Scolari after the game generously acknowledged a familiar face from his short time as Chelsea manager and wanted to know what I thought of Brazil - the country, not the team.

Amid the small talk, he knew that though the goalless draw seemed to show a lack of Brazilian firepower, Ochoa prevented a straightforward win.

Statistics

Already the first set of 16 Group games is complete, and I've made a few random observations.

It's a healthy ratio of three goals per match, although scoring first is not an automatic prelude for victory - just ask Croatia, Spain, Uruguay, Japan, Ecuador and Algeria; all losers after going 1-0 up. Half a dozen penalties and only three red cards are good statistics for the officials.

Now for me, it is full on focus on England v Uruguay. All roads lead to Sao Paulo or, to be more accurate, all flights. My hours in the air will be increased by another four

I can’t wait… both for the match, and of course the TAM sandwich along the way…

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