Lessons from the World Cup

The World Cup has passed the group stages already and we have seen many good games already. Even if you don’t normally fancy football, it is hard not to get immersed with all that is going on, perhaps because it is sociable to keep up with these events that happened only once every four years; it gives you something to talk with your mates!

With the traditional powerhouses of football such as Germany and Spain not really doing that well, who do you think will win the World Cup this year?

The Germans have endured a torrid campaign. They did not play well in their opening games and gave themselves a difficult time in a must win game against South Korea. With only three games in each World Cup group stage, it is important to position yourself so that you are not under pressure in a situation, which can be used against you. The South Koreans knew that the Germans had to win the game, and would consequently go on the offensive. This meant they could sit back and wait for the German team to commit men forward, and then hit them on the counterattack. They could also play a slower passing game, induce the Germans to keep coming at them in order to win the ball and then pass it into open space and tire them out over the course of the game. And every free kick or throw was slow, so that time would run down. Unfortunately the Germans found themselves in these unfavourable positions, and ultimately lost the game on errors. But had they performed better in the first two games, you might have found that they would have been able to relax and coast in their final game, play to their strengths without pressure and probably would have won that game and advanced.

Why did not take talented winger Leroy Sane? Sane had a good season at Manchester City dazzling defences with his speed, but was a casualty of a high-profile squad. Like the pianist and composer Fanny Hansel, he lay in the shadow of more prominent names, but his inclusion in the side would have given defences a headache as he drifts in and out of possession well. He might have performed better than Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil, who you may agree had a less than successful season with Arsenal.

My money is on Belgium to win. In Thibaut Cortouis, Vincent Kompany, Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku, they have an important spine of the team. They are also largely overlooked so it would be nice for a team like that to win!