Monday, July 14, 2014

7 Life Lessons From the World Cup 2014 Final

  1. No matter how big or small the opponent, teamwork and team organization is crucial.

    It was frequently said of Germany, that while Portugal had Ronaldo, Brazil had Neymar and Argentina had Messi, the Germans had a team. Their greatest strength was their team where everyone was organized, and everyone pulled for everyone else with the team's objective the main focus.

    Brazil, arguably a far better team than Algeria or Argentina, were hammered by Brazil 7-1 because their team was disorganized and the defence was in shambles. Argentina held off the Germans for 113 minutes because their defence was highly organized and every member of the team knew, and did, their job.
  2. Life gives you chances - take them and don't miss them. Regret is another word for opportunities missed.

    Argentina had the best chance of the game - Gonzalo Higuain was clean through with just the goalkeeper Manuel Neuer to beat, and he shot wide. Captain Lionel Messi and Rodrigo Palacio later had golden chances to put the Albiceleste in front, but squandered their chances. While the Germans also fluffed their chances, they took the one that mattered.
  3. Always have a Plan D.

    Germany's Plan A was to start with Sami Khedira. He was injured during the warm ups. Plan B was to put Cristoph Kramer in the playing 11, and he was injured early on in the game. Plan C was then how the Die Mannschaft played the game and there was no winner by the end of normal time. And then Plan D, substitute Mario Gotze came into effect.
  4. Reputations count for nothing on the battle field. It's what you do, when you do, that matters.

    Messi is arguably the best player of the game at the club level. He is the best player of the current generation. He has been compared to Pele and Maradona in terms of achievements. Yet, on the day, it was a formerly relatively unknown Mario Gotze who scored. Today, Gotze is a world champion, and Messi will always remain a club level wonder.
  5. Great leaders know how to give a great speech.

    It is a fact of history that rarely do you have great leaders who have not mastered the art of oratory. Great leaders of men know what to say, when to say it, and how to say it. Just before putting Gotze on, the German coach Low called him a "miracle boy" and told him to "outshine Messi".

    "Show the world you are better than Lionel Messi." It was the right thing to say, and would spur the man on to score the most famous goal for Germany this World Cup.
  6. Success requires long term planning.

    It was after Euro 2004, when Germany drew two matches (1-1 with Holland and 0-0 with Latvia) and lost their final game (1-2 to Czech Republic) that the seeds of 2014 were sown. Despite being the World Cup finalists in 2002, Germany had exited the Euro with no wins. A complete overhaul of the system began, with coach Rudi Voller resigning and Jurgen Klinsmann taking over. He sat with every stake holder (the football association, the domestic league and their coaches, the players and so on) and drew up an ambitious plan were Germany decided to play their attacking, fast paced, dynamic brand of play. Everyone needed to pull in the same direction, from the club level to the national level, and everyone needed to buy in.

    The results started to come soon after.
  7. Don't put all your eggs in one basket.

    Two teams (out of many) did that this World Cup. Brazil penned their hopes on Neymar, and he got injured in the quarter finals. Brazil was unceremoniously dumped out in the semi final. Argentina also designed their team around their star Messi, and he didn't get injured but shone during the tournament, and his team reached the finals. And yet, they both lost to the Germans, whose focus was the team. So strong was their bench that they could make a change to their starting eleven right before the game and it didn't affect their plans. The winning goal was scored by someone coming off from the bench, such was their reserve strength.

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