The 2018 World cup has gone down in history as arguably the best World cup of all time! From all of the World cups I’ve seen from start to finish It’s personally my favorite one too.
It may not have had the Superstar teams like in 1998, nor the best player in the world on absolute fire, who actually turns up and destroys everyone (Ronaldo Lima 2002), or even a consistent dominant performance by one side giving the other side nothing but crumbs in terms of possession.. Spain 2010.
Instead we were gifted more often than not with very evenly matched games from the group stages all the way to the final. Jam packed action with teams actually going for it, unlike the last two world cups (They were very cagey).
Tons of good quality goals, and even new technology being used for the first time in a World cup called V.A.R. (AKA Video Assistant Referee) all helped to make this in my eyes the greatest world cup thus far.
The World cup was on for four weeks so as much as I enjoyed watching the games, I couldn’t help but pick up some lessons that I learned myself or I witnessed an individual or a team learn.
I believe these 7 lessons will help you even if you don’t play football, and will keep your mental state of mind sharp.. because it’s all about mental health too not just physical health.
So below are the 2018 World cup 7 lessons learned in Russia!
Having The Title Of World Champs Means Nothing… You Must Work Even Harder!
So you’ve won something before… so what! That’s in the past and you cannot let that fond memory stop you from putting in that effort in the present.
Take the former champs Germany for example from the 2014 world cup. People thought that their failure to win at the 2016 Euros was just a fluke and they would be one of the strong favorites to win the world cup again in two years time.
With a veteran manager Joachim Löw who has been managing the German national side for over 10 years. You’d think they’d at least get past the first phase of the competition which is the group stage right?
Instead Löw’s team ended up rock bottom of their group with only three points out of a possible 9, and left shell shocked, embarrassed and rightfully upset.
So what actually happened to Löw’s side then?
Taking into account this is not a gossip magazine, It was reported that there was a rift in the German camp even before they had touched down in Russia. A few rumours that are now known to be facts are as followed..
Manuel Neuer Being Chosen As The Number 1 Goalkeeper Ahead Of Marc-André Ter Stegen Just Because He Is Manuel Neuer
Manuel Neuer was good in the past but if we are going off recent work, he has declined over the last 2 or even 3 years for his club.
Taking into account that due to injury, he had only played 4 games for his club this season, then he should not have even been on the plane!
All the while you have Marc-André ter Stegen who is rated top 5 best goalkeeper on the planet right now.
This for me was a showcase of Joachim Löw being very naïve and choosing someone just because he was a top keeper, and banking on him still being one.
When in fact there was no reason to take that gamble when you have someone in your squad like Ter stegen, a young goalkeeper who you could see easily becoming the best keeper of his era if he stays focused, no big injures, hungry and honed right.
Political Issues Before The World Cup
Mesut Özil & İlkay Gündoğan who are both of Turkish descent but were also born in Gelsenkirchen, Germany, decided it would be a great idea to meet up with the Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan right before the world cup where they would be representing Germany.
Without getting into politics too much the Turkish president is not liked very much by his own country let alone by the Germans, and many of the German fans were outraged and thought that the pair of them should not have been taken to the World cup.
I believe this made sure that only a German triumph at the tournament could ensure that Özil would escape a harsh backlash from the German press and that Gündoğan would only get to participate more often than not as a substitute, rather than a starter.
This could not have gone down well with some of the players and particularly the coaching staff… which did not help their cause and of course with the fans who saw them as traitors.
Gündoğan even went as far as to refer to the Turkish leader as “My president”, so I can see why some people were not happy with this photo coming into a World cup.
DID YOU KNOW?: Mesut Özil has now retired from international duty, as he believes he is being discriminated against because of Turkish roots.
Leroy Sané Not Going To The World Cup
A blessing in disguise maybe after what ended up happening to Germany, but I do think this was another mistake from Löw; not choosing Leroy Sané, the 2018 PFA Young Player Of The year.
The Manchester City winger who is only 22 years of age had a great season for only his second season In the English Premier league, scoring 14 goals and assisting 17 goals in all competitions.
He was then selected for some pre World cup friendlies but then told he was not going to be in the squad. Now this upset the German players as they could see that he should have been selected.
Löw’s failure to also nip this one in the bud is another factor of the divide between him and the players he chose.
So as you can see the past really means nothing, in terms of what you have done or won, but then also this is a quote from Löw and this kind of sums it all up don’t you think?
“The team worked well, players were training really well. But the two friendly matches, against Austria and Saudi Arabia, were not good. Maybe we thought at the push of a button we could shift gears, but we lost against Mexico. If we had taken a point it would have been different. We couldn’t flip that switch. We were convinced once the tournament started we would be able to play well but it didn’t happen.”
Being Positive Can Take You To Places Others Couldn’t Even Imagine
If there ever was a clear example of where positivity can take you look no further than the England squad. No longer bogged down by the English press as they were too tired to write up negative stories to try to derail the squad for a juicy story… because let’s face it England would be coming out at the group stage like they did in 2014 In Brazil right?
Instead what we saw was the team reaching the Semi-finals and eventually getting 4th spot, which for everything this nation has been through i.e underachieving for so long, was a massive achievement/ a huge step in the right direction.
The press expected nothing, the fans expected nothing and the England team gave you something. This is a lesson in itself when you expect nothing and get something you are automatically in a state of gratitude, rather than expecting/demanding that you get it.
England Manager Gareth Southgate had previously been in charge of the Under 21’s and many people, including myself (Still am) were skeptical of his appointment especially in the long term.
As it stands though, no one can begrudge him and say he has not done a fantastic job thus far. He has made the team come together and it seems from a distance, the complete opposite of the German camp, a very positive environment to be in.
On paper this England team has had much better players (on paper), but I think it’s clear the problem was, using the example of the 2002 England team; they simply did not get on with each other due to divisions between cliques from rival clubs and huge expectations from the fans and the press.
The England World Cup Team From 02
This new found positivity also helped England to win a penalty shoot out, a feat they had never managed in a World Cup tournament before.
This was the highlight of the tournament for the English fans because they had never expected to ever see England win a penalty shoot out in their lifetime.
So when you’ve got a group of people who are positive and not negative this is the sort of impact you can make, they didn’t win but for every player that went on that plane,
I can assure you their lives will never been the same again because of this experience.
You Cannot Win The World Cup On Your Own
Just like achieving greatness in life you cannot do it all on your own, we need each other and there is only so much one man/ woman can do on their own before needing some help.
I mean it’s cool to be independent and being able to do things for yourself, but the higher you go in any field you’re going to need some help.. better yet a team.
A Gardener will not get uptight about tending to a Garden that is 10 acres long and the owner asking him if he has people to support him, it’s a huge Garden and a long and hard task for one person to do alone.. let alone do it well and on schedule.
There can only be one winner at the World cup every four years, the difference being from let’s say Portugal who did not win and Argentina who also did not win but both came out at the same phase (Round of 16) is that the Portuguese players were working for each other.
They were trying to make their best player (Cristiano Ronaldo) do the best he could which would then possibly lead them to winning the World cup.
Argentina who very nearly did not make it, did not play very well at all. They played like it was every man for himself and doing their best to make themselves look good and their best player (Lionel Messi) not being able to produce what we have seen time and time again from him at Barcelona.
Team work makes the dream work as they say, right now looking at this Argentinean side, if they carry on like this in the next 4 years it will be a long time before they ever qualify for a World cup again.
Others Can Talk Smack.. But It’s up To You To Make Them Eat It
People will talk smack all the time out of fear, jealousy and envy.. when you deem yourself, whether verbally or subconsciously as great, most people are then going to tend to hate and lash out.
Take Paul Pogba for example In 2016 he came back to a very much struggling Manchester united side for the world record transfer fee at the time of £89.3 million.
This did not go down very well at all with the Media and football fans as they were questioning whether he was worth that money or not. I mean it’s a lot of money, we all know that but the stick that he got before he even kicked a ball, which then led to a negative campaign of just over two years has been nothing short of a disgrace.
Apparently all of his abilities went out of the window because of his weekly Hair style changes.. yeah the same ones he was having in Turin that got him the move back to United in the first place!
Since now winning the World cup and shutting up a lot of the haters (For now), people have woken up to the fact that Paul Pogba cannot make Manchester United great all by himself.
He is a great player and in actual fact it’s his manger Jose Mourinho who has not been able to sort out the Manchester United team and get them playing well, let alone wanting to see elite performances from Pogba when the teammates mainly (Central Midfield partners) are a load of rubbish.
They are a few others that I enjoyed watching prove their haters wrong such as Harry Kane, Luka Modrić and Eden Hazard.. but I went with Pogba because it was worse than the others mentioned.
So do what Pogba did and show mental toughness, keep going and ignore the hate and show the world what you’re made of!
The Simple Things Should Not Be Overlooked
Germany found this out the hard way! Just turning up is sometimes all you need to do, very simple yet the hardest thing to do when we decide to over complicate things and make it harder than it actually is.
Simplicity is the key to brilliance as the quote says below..
Brilliance is exactly what we got at this year’s World cup from all of the simple set pieces such as Corners, Freekicks & Penalties that were taken and scored.
I’m not sure of the actual number scored via the set pieces but I know it’s over 60 goals, and this number outweighs the flashy tricks and skills that went in fewer times.
Mainly because it was a touch too much and ran out of play, a poor touch and out of play, or just too much time dwelling on the ball.. are you getting the point now about not over-complicating things?
Also considering before the world cup had started set pieces in general were taken very poorly as a whole in Football, so I was very surprised and happy to see this happen as I’ve once or twice shouted at the screen about a professional player not being able to do something so basic as a set piece properly executed.
Put Trust & Faith In The Youth (If You’re Young Yourself Then Put That In You!)
If you’re old stop underestimating the youth, they are the future and they will do what you couldn’t do when it’s their time to shine. I would also say that investing in the youth is a smart move because they’re able to learn in ways that are typically not rigid because they are not yet used to doing things in a certain way.
If you’re young yourself then put that trust and faith in you!
I know it can be hard trying to do things for the first time, as it’s your first time all the time because you’re so young.. but use the fact you’ve not done many things in life as your power.
What I mean is you can become good at something with practice day after day, then who knows you may want to take it a step further and become great or a master at it.
Stop listening to older people about what you should do, and start attempting to do things that you want to do.
See what happens and with time you may have attempted 500 things and then decided to stick with only 10 of those, that’s still a lot considering your Gaming, TV and Procrastination time has dropped dramatically since you started these ventures!
I was very happy to see the Managers at the World cup giving the younger players a starting role, rather than over the hill players who really shouldn’t have any business at the world cup.
For this reason we had a lot of new players people had on a global scale, never heard of before which kept things fresh and interesting.
In an Internet age where everything is so connected it was nice to see some unknown players and be excited about what they could bring to the table.
Here are some young players that caught the eye at the world cup
I couldn’t not show the stand out youngster of the whole World cup.. and deserving winner of the Best Young Player Award Kylian Mbappe!
Have a look at this fantastic goal against Argentina.
C7 First Shot Last Shot In Action
For those of you who have not seen my video on First shot last shot, I suggest you click the link, scroll down and you’ll see the video I’m talking about or it may not make much sense to you otherwise…(Click Here)
Now I’m trusting you’ve now seen the video (Don’t break it now) even though this was the last minute of the game if you flip this around and go in with the mindset of this was his first shot, I believe you can learn from that when you are taking your shot in life, an actual free kick or nah.. it doesn’t matter..BURY IT!
I really enjoyed sharing this with you guys. Please do let me know though…
What Was Your Fav Lesson Here?
What Players Did You Enjoy Watching And Why?
What Did You Make Of The Germans Terrible Performance?
Was This The Best World Cup Ever?
What Did You Make Of All Of This?
Of course Any other questions are always welcome just leave a comment below
Until Then Ciao
We Look Up 大