The FIFA World Cup 2014 has come and gone. I will be remiss if I didn’t add my own 2 cents to the plethora of blog posts about the beautiful game.
So, these are my 12 ultimate take-aways from the Brazil World Cup:
1. Never underestimate your competition and have a healthy respect for the unknown. Many countries never gave Iran a chance, after all few had seen them train or had even played against them internationally. But Iran surprised everyone by putting up a good fight.
2. Know who your customers are. Yes, you’re playing for love of country and glory, but you’re ALSO playing to get signed by a new club or to gain endorsement deals. Exhibit personality not just skill.
3. There’s always room to express yourself within the limits of the rules. Every player wears football cleats but a few wear them in brilliant colours. Uruguay also gave us memorable form fitting shirts.
4. It’s not over until it’s over. Don’t be careless. Protect your flanks. Remember it’s not who scores first, but who scores most.
5. Underdogs can win.
6. You can be a rock star doing what you love. Ochoa, Enyeama, Neur and Howard are goalies who achieved name recognition and cultural meme stardom during the World Cup.
7. Don’t build your team around a star player. Avoid key man risk. Brazil? Argentina? Hmmm…
8. You can compete on the field yet be friends off the pitch. In the World Cup, brother played against brother, league team mate played against team mate. In football, you face your work.
9. People will only wait for you to win for so long, before they move on. Anyone remember the excruciatingly boring Netherlands versus Argentina match?
10. The public can always tell when honour is undeserved. Messi did not deserve the Golden Boot. Period.
11. Excellence and consistency deserve to be rewarded. Everyone kind of agrees that Germany deserved to win.
12. You may not be playing on the pitch but you can strike gold elsewhere: Adidas was the most popular brand of the World Cup on social media and the Emirates’ hostesses did not go unnoticed. Beats by Dre also did some clever ambush marketing, while Louis Vuitton provided the case for the venerable trophy.
So these are my lessons from the World Cup. What are yours?