RoboCup is underway in the Netherlands, where soccer-playing robots from forty countries have gathered to not only win the prestigious title, but to advance robotic technology.

RoboCup, the world cup of robotic soccer, competition kicked off this week in Eindhoven, Netherlands The organizers' ambitious goal is for robots to play against human soccer players in 2050 and defeat them.

"By [the] mid-21st century, a team of fully autonomous humanoid robot soccer players shall win [a] soccer game, complying with the official rule of the FIFA, against the winner of the most recent World Cup," RoboCup organizers pledge on the competition's official website.

However, the level these robots are currently playing at will not strike fear in any human opponents. The robots move stiffly and slowly along the field as they try to defeat their android opponents.

"To be honest, I think a three-year-old could win against any of the humanoid teams," Marcell Missura of the University of Bonn told the Associated Press.

These humanoid robots are not cheap, ranging from from $5,000 for the standard platform bots to $35,000 or more for handmade adult-size models, which are 4 feet and taller. The robots use different kicks for passing and shooting, and they communicate their position to each other via wireless internet connections. Once a game kicks off, there is no human interference apart from substitutions, when humans are allowed to remove a robot that has broken down, and when referees removes a robot from the game for fouling an opponent.

According to tournament director Rene van de Molengraft, this robot technology is not all fun and games. He believes advancing robots to become better soccer players, will also educate us on how to better program them to fulfill greater needs in society from taking care of the elderly to "rescue robots that can go into a disaster arena and help to find victims." He argues "there is a clear link between robots in the soccer arena and what we see in real life."