David slays Goliath – Life lessons from Germany’s shock exit from the World Cup
David was the underdog. He wasn’t expected to even live upto a battle with the mighty Goliath. But live he did – much to the shock and anguish of Goliath’s fans.
South Korea’s historic win over the mighty German juggernaut was totally unexpected; yet the momentous victory highlighted some crucial lessons to the Germans and legions of disbelieving football fans at large.
Here is my take on what we can learn from the Koreans humbling the Germans on the biggest football stage in the world:
- Size does not matter: One look at the German team and you know that these guys are built to last. (like their cars). Almost all of them are strapping men with a physique that is powerful and intimidating. The Koreans on the other hand form a diminutive sight, all of them shorter and lighter than their German counterparts. Yet what we saw today on the field was an inspirational fight by the smaller, cockier team, who took on the muscular Germans and saw them through the crucial 90 minutes of play.
Life lesson 1 – Don’t get intimidated by the opposition –however strong/powerful/impactful they may be.
- Reputations don’t matter: Just so you don’t miss the irony – a 4 time world champion gets soundly defeated by a team that is ranked 57th in the world. Had the Koreans been in awe of their opponents, the German team would have steam-rollered them into submission. After all, they are the World Champions, current and past with an arsenal boasting of star players like Toni Kroos, Mesut Ozil and the charismatic goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.
But the doughty Koreans didn’t care about their opponents’ reputation. They systematically played to a plan, which basically was to thwart the forward and mid-field attacks with a stubborn and tenacious defence that the Germans found impossible to penetrate.
Life lesson 2 – Don’t worry about your rival’s reputation – play to your strengths.
- Never say die: At no point in time did the Koreans give up the match,. They ran endless sprints, tackled the beefy Germans with spirit and verve and generally made a nuisance of themselves.
This made the German team sweat bucket loads, not just because they weren’t winning , but because the Koreans were looking like they might actually win ! And win they did – in style. Their omnipresent defence and a gutsy young goalkeeper thwarted numerous attempts at the goal – and there were quite a few chances that Germany missed.
In the end, it was not the mighty warriors who won. The minnows were the ones who cruised to a hard-won victory. Not that it came early. The first goal was in the 91st minute and the second goal was slotted in during the 95th minute. A series of last gasp goals finally breached the usually impregnable Neuer Gate.
Life lesson 3 – Never give up. Persistence pays rich dividends, no matter how late it may be.
4. Self belief is crucial : If there was one quality which separated the two teams, it was this. The Germans despite their track record just didn’t seem to be convinced that they would win. Their body language was awry. As the game progressed and gradually slipped out of their hands, there was no rallying around by the team, no call for urgent teamwork.
Instead there were repeated visuals of the German players grimacing in disgust and disappointment at their shots missing the mark. By contrast the wiry Koreans gave it everything they got – and some more. They were filled with a purpose, a shining self belief that sustained them through till the end.
Life lesson 4 – Believe in yourself because you will win.
5. Celebrate your victories, however insignificant: At the end of the match, the Koreans celebrated as though they had won the World Cup. Never mind that they bowed out of the cup due to their overall group standing. What was heartening about their heroic efforts and the end was the fact that the Korean team lived their dream and celebrated their success thereafter. A success that was truly theirs to deserve.
The players were ecstatic that they had defeated the defending champions! The tired Koreans were overjoyed at winning and it showed on their faces and their body language as they knelt in supplication on the field. It didn’t matter that they were going home. They had got the better of their superior rivals and now was the time to celebrate.
Life lesson 5 – Celebrate your successes – that’s what makes Life delicious.
So, the beautiful game that enthrals also has an uncanny ability to reflect truisms that stem from our own beliefs and character. What you are as a team, you display in your game.
Then again, what is Life if not, the ultimate game?
picture credit : totalsportek.com