Tech United regains world title for Eindhoven

Tech United can again call itself world champion robot football. This is the result of a thrilling final played against the Portuguese CAMBADA team on Thursday, which was won with a minimal 1-0 score. In Canada the TU/e team took part in the WC RoboCup, with its football robots as well as its healthcare robots. AMIGO secured a third place at this WC.

photo Tech United

During the past few days both teams had encountered each other three times before in Montreal. Two of those three matches were decided in Eindhoven’s favor, while CAMBADA won just once.

In the final, too, the teams were evenly matched. No goals were scored in the first half and both opponents had to cope with plenty of hardware problems. On the side of the Dutch team, player Van Perslucht (compressed air) really had trouble getting started, among others; several times, the robot just kept spinning round and round.

Extensive registration of the final of the WC RoboCup 2018: Tech United versus CAMBADA.

RoboCup 2018 - final robot football

Extensive registration of the final of the WC RoboCup 2018: Tech United versus CAMBADA.

After a longer than usual half-time (as requested by CAMBADA, which took a great deal of time for making various adjustments to its robots, to the annoyance of the TU/e students) the first and only goal of the match was scored even in the first minute of the second half. This was thanks to the above-mentioned star player Van Perslucht, which had stopped circling endlessly by then, and which fired the ball into the Portuguese goal with a fine hard long-distance shot.

Murphy's Law

Wouter Kuijpers, team leader Middle Size League and 'federation coach' of the Tech United team, looks back together with presenter Lieven Scheire on "not the most outstanding match" of the tournament. When asked whether both teams had not actually tried to change perhaps a little bit too much just before the final, Kuijpers says no: "I think we focused on the right aspects. Still, it’s all about Murphy's Law at play: you make it to the final and then suddenly all sorts of things start to go wrong. As if the robots could feel the tension". 

He is quite complimentary about the opposition put up by CAMBADA throughout the tournament. "Portugal has made great leaps in the last few years and also made good progress this year." Meanwhile, Orange goalkeeper Van Sleutelen is raised onto the shoulders a few meters farther. Kuijpers: "He has had to get into action much more frequently than we had planned and saved our skin several times". 

And, says Kuijpers with a smile, after the final battle the robots "may be getting an oily bath to relax a bit". After that they will be put on a plane back to the Netherlands straight away; the team will follow them on Saturday. 

Eleventh final, fourth world title

On Thursday Tech United played its eleventh football final in a row in a World Championship. The team managed to win three of the preceding ten finals, the last one being in 2016. Last year Van der Tandwiel (cogwheel), Frank de Moer (nut), Zessi (sixie) and their team members had to settle for silver in Nagoya in Japan. 

Dish washer

In the @Home-league, geared towards robots that can help people at home or in healthcare, Tech United robot AMIGO secured a third place at this WC. In the match for bronze the dishwasher challenge was taken up. During the challenge a team member rang the doorbell and AMIGO subsequently opened the door for him. AMIGO recognized this team member and then accompanied him to the dining room, after which it fetched him something to drink. In the meantime a second guest came into the room, but this did not confuse AMIGO: it still succeeded in delivering the right order to the right person. The cup was collected by AMIGO after it had been emptied and was also put into the dishwasher by the robot.

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