5 Lessons from Brazil – Germany ( 1-7)

There will be political ramifications from this semi-final result. It is a symbolic collapse (in the purest pars pro toto sense) of the entire Brazilian political and economic system, which despite all its glossy PR (i.e. emerging economies and BRIC promotion by investors) could no longer hide gross mismanagement. I finally understand now why friends in Rio de Janeiro said it would be politically a bad thing if Brazil won the World Cup. Brazilians love their team and football, just as they love their country, but there is a general unrest in the air that mismanagement and corruption are rampant. Public funds are used for giant infra-structural projects that are ultimately built sub-standard.

The media didn’t show much of the collapsed overpass that crushed several people in a public bus, only 3 kilometers from this same Mineirão Stadium a few days ago. Nor were the ongoing protests or clean-up missions by the police given any attention. Meanwhile Brazilian football at club level is also in its worst condition, with visitor numbers dwindling and no way to fill these new stadiums. All of these issues and the overpriced construction projects will be a continuing topic.

Whether one likes football or not, a simple lesson can be taken from it all: Get your basics right and you can create opportunities. Neglect them and the opponent will ruthlessly punish your mistakes and lack of intensity. This Brazil team did not show any intent, intensity or technical ability in defence, it simply capitulated as if they were the ritual scape goats for the public’s dissatisfaction with the government.

Teams like Algeria, USA, Costa Rica, Chile and Colombia showed far more discipline, organisation and will to win then the hosts did. It is that lack of drive that made me stop supporting Brazil’s team since 1998, because to see incredibly talented players step on the field with a careless attitude is frustrating. I’m not a football fan, but I enjoy studying the game for its psychology and strategy, in observing what makes a winner and a loser. So I cheer on those who play with passion and fight till the end, rather than bring a boring display to the field.

To conclude: Ultimately one has to remember that Germany also lost 5-1 from England back in 2001, which started an inquest and a meeting of all relevant bodies to completely overhaul and restructure German football. So Brazil has to pick itself up and learn from this, do a lot of soul-searching (even World Cup winner Juninho said it was perhaps what they needed. A lesson that it’s no point talking about having won the cup 5 times, but time to change the mentality and academies). If you really want to be a champion, it starts with the mentality:

1) Acknowledge your mistakes and limitations

2) Work on these weaknesses

3) Go back to the basics and drill them continuously

4) Do the simple things right and never allow awareness to slip

5) Revel in the moment, appreciate that potential and talent are nothing if not manifested through will power

And this applies to all aspects of life, business, personal relationships, health, knowledge and so on.

Champions are not necessarily the ones that win, but the ones that put up a good fight and show determination and drive.

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