While it’s hard to make comparisons between sporting jobs and “normal” jobs, it’s important to realise that when you take away the wages and what they actually do seven days a week, sportsmen are people too! They still go through all the thoughts and fears that we would about pressure and the need to succeed.
The FIFA World Cup has been one of the most successful in memory, and many people have put that down to two things;
- The tactical shift toward attacking football over the last few years
- The setting of the World Cup in Brazil, the “home” of football
These two factors can both play a big part in the process, of course, but another key factor for this change in entertainment levels is the fact there was no stand-out team. In the last few international tournaments, people have concentrated on Spain as the epitome of the team, and were usually the stand-out name at any tournament – until exiting early at this World Cup.
However, in the 2014 FIFA World Cup it has always been about the collective for the majority of the countries – those who relied on individuals went home long ago.
Portugal are probably the most glaring example of this. The team chemistry was all built around funneling everything through Cristiano Ronaldo. While this is a solid enough tactic in theory, it requires every player to be happy with being a bit-part player in a team sport while essentially only being there to try and maximize the effects of one man.
The hosts, Brazil, were very much the same. This World Cup has shown that the two teams who have played as a unit the most, Argentina and Germany, have reached the final. While Brazil were centered around trying to get best out of mercurial talent Neymar Jr, Germany was built around ensuring that nobody was essential to the team in such a way that it could be detrimental to the overall function.
While Argentina have created a system to get the best out of their star player, Messi, they have found a way of making this system work almost as effectively as Germany as it has made sure that the players picked all complement each other perfectly. If you look at the defence, midfield and attack of both finalists it’s evident that the system and the team has been the main aim rather than finding a way of utilising one player as best as possible.
Team building is essential in football and at the moment Argentina and Germany have shown the two most efficient ways to build a team. While Argentina still try to target a system which revolves around Messi, it ensures that everybody around Messi is offering him countless options and gives him the chance to make his teammates even more effective.
The German Team
Germany do not have a star name, but they are the ultimate collective. Players are happy to fill in positions to ensure that the team themselves can continue to grow and develop effectively. By picking a squad of versatile, intelligent players who can cover in various positions while having no problem playing a small role in the bigger picture, Germany have shown that if your team is built around maximizing each other’s potential there is a far greater balance to the team.
And once they organised themselves to stifle Argentina’s star player, Messi, the final result was just a matter of time.
When a team is focused around one person, it’s hard for everybody to buy into this collective, and if the star player has an off day the entire team will suffer. But when everyone is going to benefit by being part of the system, it’s far easier to motivate everybody to the required result.
Well played Team Germany!
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