The 2014 FIFA World Cup has left fans with memorable attacking displays (The Germans and their attacking football), underdogs challenging established powers (Costa Rica topping their group) as well as defending champions crashing in such melodramatic fashion. Much drama. Plenty of sleepless nights, memes about how Brazil became “invisible” (for hilarity: http://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/row-zed/video-proof-brazil-simply-didnt-3843612) and probably, for the GP doctor at the polyclinic, long queues for MCs for the whole duration of the World Cup.
Major sporting events such as these tend to have a profound impact on society. It is therefore noteworthy to pick up a few key points in the World Cup, and perhaps we could learn from it.
Look no further than Germany. Against Argentina, whenever they went on the break, the Germans just clamped their position down fast. A few near misses happened, but the Germans always made sure they attacked and defended as a solid team. Tops in team play.
What we can learn: we must emphasise that life is not just about “me, myself and I”. One has to come to some sort of consensus and work with others towards a common goal. As Singaporeans, pursuing a brighter future collectively should be the aim for the future. To do that, a convergence of viewpoints eventually must be necessary. It does not matter where that point is, as long as society can all agree that it will take on a certain path and accept the effects and repercussions that follow. Otherwise, one here, one there and we’ll all be “hanta kaki1”.
Legacy Does Not Equate Excellence
It is most unfathomable to the writer how England commands ridiculous amount of support from overseas. Yet, England imploded in this World Cup spectacularly, second only to Spain. The inventors of the game rose to World Cup supremacy in 1966. Yet, from there, the English teams of late have been mere shadows of their past glory. Other teams have taken on hard reforms and reaped the rewards, ranging from a Dutch counterattacking team to a rejuvenated French that was edged out by Germany narrowly. The English ought to follow suit.
What we can learn: history is no guarantee of future success. So what if Singapore is presently in a state of economic prosperity? Other countries can catch up too, so there is indeed no room to be complacent. Anyone can indeed be knocked off their perch in a highly competitive environment. Let’s not bluff here, who wants to be second best?
Amidst the results and pretty attacking football, the importance of good sportsmanship should never be understated. The Germans become an extremely lethal football machine whenever facing off against their adversaries. Yet, in victory, the first thing that happens: the Germans console their adversaries. Losing is painful, but offering a hand up after being defeated is indeed one of the most underestimated gestures in sport: opposing sides stay as friends post-match.
What we can learn: Everyone can be on different sides on the same issue. It is alright to disagree and fight for a different stance vigorously. However, at the end of the debate, acknowledge that different parties probably have their merits, and that even in defeat, many people who speak up probably care about the issue enough to bother writing about it. Be a good sportsman: credit the other party for a rigorous debate be it in victory or in defeat, as long as both enter the debate with a good-natured purpose.
Love for Country
Nope, if anyone was wondering if World Cup teams comprise of purely “born and bred” citizens, the answer is not quite. Yet this was not of much consequence at all. Teams still supported their countries all the same with patriotism that some would look on with envy. After all, aren’t the men who wear the country’s jersey all fighting for the same cause: that of country?
What we can learn: Let’s not go too hard on those who represent our sport even if they may have been born in a foreign land. Instead, count our blessings that they were willing to don our country’s flag. Just as we support all our bred-and-born athletes with fervour, let us leave the acerbic remarks on “foreign talent” in sport somewhere else and root for them as well.
NCPG “own goal”
The NCPG should never use the Germans for the next ad they run. Enough said. :) Otherwise they’ll score an own-goal.