Saturday 19 July 2014

FIFA World Cup 2014

The recently concluded FIFA World Cup was the 6th World Cup edition that I saw and was definitely the best. This edition had excitement equal to an on-the-edge thriller...there was a strong contest between the boot & the glove, there was sweet revenge, there was heart break, there were heroes, there were anti-heroes and there was complete annihilation and finally there was triumph.

Honestly, I can't recall a better World Cup ever!

Even though this edition's venue was Brazil, which meant Indian audience had to endure sleepless nights to watch these matches, there was hardly anyone missing any match (provided there was an iota of interest in football, a.k.a. soccer). The tone was set on second day, when defending champions (Spain) had their nose rubbed in dirt by the team (Netherlands) they defeated in the finals to become champs in the previous edition! From there was a goal fest - with some outstanding performances by goal keepers as well.

There were a few interesting "lessons" that one can take from this year's World Cup:
  • You are on top, doesn't mean you will stay there - someone, soon will over throw you from the 'throne' (Spain's humiliating defeat at the hands of Netherlands)
  • One person can lift the team - in spirit, in outlook, in hope...but on his off-day, the team would crumble if number 2 and 3 are not willing to step up (Messi-magic took Argentina to the finals - but he couldn't fire on the day that mattered most and his team lost)
  • Teams that work as a unit are stronger than teams that have the world's best player (Germany & Netherlands didn't have anyone whose fame matched with Messi / Ronaldo / Neymar - but as a unit, they were amongst the best... and Germany did win the championship)
  • Success doesn't come easily, there are no shortcuts and consistency is the key - 
    • It took 10 years for German football to prepare a team that won the World Cup (this was after 24 years)
    • Consistency of players to perform as they had trained, as was expected of them - held the team together, without cracks widening enough for them to worry (there are only two players in the history of World Cups to have scored 5 or more goals in consecutive editions - Klose & Mueller, both German players - both played this year's edition, both scored goals...also, German goal keeper, Neuer was adjudged the best goal keeper this year)
  • Lapse in focus, even for a few minutes can make you butt of all jokes and break millions of hearts - Brazil gave away 4 goals in a span of 6-7 minutes (against Germany in the Semi-finals), which was nothing but a complete lapse of team's focus to play...
  • You have to capitalise on the opportunities you get - let them go abegging and see your competition swipe the pie from right under your nose (Argentina should have been 2-0 up after the first half, in the finals...they missed...eventually, they lost 0-1)
There is more one could learn from sports and bring to life in general, I think these many are enough to be listed here for now :)

I am not a football fan in the true sense, i.e. - I don't follow club football, players - such as Messi / Ronaldo are just plain & simple good for me, but I don't want their teams to win just because these players are there...In fact, truth be told, I enjoy football once in four years...It is just the World Cup that I follow...therefore, hitting snooze button on all football following until 2018, which has been quite hectic and time consuming this year.

In the end, since I was supporting Germany and they won - all sleepless nights and abuses from the 'high-command' were worth!

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