Sanjeev Kotnala: 11 Learnings from the World Cup

14 Jul,2014


By Sanjeev Kotnala


The sudden vacuum post the final last night brings alive the whole World Cup alive in short burst of captured moments. And in the process filter with ease and least effort some learnings that are tough to miss out.


1. YOU CAN’T CREATE A TEAM IN MIXER GRINDER. Brazil is the case in point. Other than 4-5 of its team members all play for different European clubs. Ingrained in them are a mix of different styles and tactic. Contrast this with Robben and Persy, the smooth comfort of dependency and confidence is visible to naked eyes


2. INDIVIDUAL BRILLIANCE IS NOT ENOUGH. Football is a perfect example of teamwork in an organization. Success only comes when the team performs as one single unit. You cannot have 2-3 stars and expect to win. Even Messi’s brilliance is no answer to German teamwork. And Neymar alone can not be credited for Brazil reaching the semis.


3. REJUENATE OR FAIL. Teams without differentiated strategy and approach have perished in the initial test. Teams investing to adapt to the new defined needs have flourished. The surprise factor will always (read most of the times) work. Luis Felipe Scolari’s commitment and confidence in an old style with hardly any innovation presented it as a known enemy to other teams. Easy to work out.


4. SEX HAS GOT NOTHING TO WINNING THE MATCH. Throw away the old theories that blame sex with the loss of power and stamina. Now that the teams with sex-curfew or allowing non-acrobatic passion falling in the way. This means that others benefited from relaxed norms. QED


5. TOUGH TO CHANGE THE NATURE. Don’t expect a player known for repeated violent offence to change his colours. Don’t expect people to perform duties that they have not been prepared for. But expect them to raise their level in their area of expertise. Luis Suarez is a classic example of frequent burst of this nature and Robben the rising in level of expertise.


6. INERTIA – MOMENTUM MATTERS. What better example than the Netherland’s defeat of Spain or Spain’s defeat by Netherland. Look at it any way. The team’s future performance was coded that very day. The semifinal Brazil Vs Germany, the heartbreaker 11th minute goal by Thomas Muller which opened the gates for another 4 in 6 minutes.


7. EMOTIONAL CHARGE A TWIN-SIDED SWORD. Over hype and expectation a pressure that the players are expected to carry at this stage. And I suppose that Brazil would have been okay if Neymar was out of the match due to red / yellow card. But the purely unintentional incident in quarterfinal, the injury and the relayed expectation charged the environment. It was too much and pushed them back- as everyone wanted to be the savior. They simply lost the objective.


8. CONSUMERS DEMAND QUALITY. Much nearer home. The broadcaster lazy start of Café Rio with novice masquerading as experts was one such move, that the channel had to change later. And I think the outcry against Robben dives ensured that it was missing in the semis though there were possibly galore.


9. RISK IS AN INTEGRAL PART OF THE GAME. Be it the formation- substitution or change in tactic. Until unless you are willing to take risk the rewards may not accrue. The last-minute substitution of the goalkeeper was termed a master stroke- but what if it had failed. You take conscious open-eyed risk and are willing to live with the results.


10. LUCK IS IMPORTANT: No team better demonstrate this than the other finalist- Argentina. They have been scrappy and just about making through the stage. But sooner or later the luck will start siding with the talent.


11. IT IS A YOUNG GAME : I guess that the average age of stars is coming down. The young talent is challenging the strong hold of tacticians. Neymar, James Rodriguez, Paul Poga, Memphis Depay are just a few of the names that have shown a different level of passion, commitment and hunger.


DISCLAIMER: football is not my game. But this World Cup was my most watched cup. And that would take me to expert level-licence to comment. The above are the list of professional learning even an amateur like me could not miss out.


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