We are coming to the end of the World Cup and one thing that struck me most was that teams that have nothing to lose tend to give their best and end up causing the biggest upsets . Russia, Japan and Croatia were not expected to go far. Yet, they made it where few expected them to be and the teams that were expected to go far had a relatively short stay in Russia.
Let us not go far because a few lessons from the World Cup are lessons that have been taught to us – maybe in another manner- in India. India’s premier league, the I-league has during the last two seasons been teaching us a lesson of how new teams have surpassed all expectations and not just got to the top but actually won the I-league. I am talking about Aizawl FC and Minerva Punjab FC.
Aizawl FC shocked many by winning the I-league in its debut and Minerva Punjab repeated the feat last season and it was the spirit of the players that helped the team triumph on both occasions. There were no big stars or no big signings. The coaches were simple man with no pedigree and yet the teams won defeating teams that have a legacy.
Similar is the case at the World Cup. Japan almost making it to the quarterfinals; Russia in the quarters; and so Croatia. From amongst the three teams, there is one name that comes to mind- Modric. The remaining story is one of hard work and the grit to win.
Playing at the top level, helps get the best of sportspersons. It does not matter if it is the World Cup or a countries league and it does not matter how much one is paid or not. It does not really matter how much money you are making because how much money one ends making is what leaves many in shock. Money follows good and runs after the best. So being the best is what really matters.
While most will be content to know which country finishes champion of this World Cup there will be many following the progress of players from Japan, Russia, Croatia and many others. Iran is one such team that will throw up plenty players in the international market.
Many teams have relied on one or two players to take them forward and that reliance has been on players that have played either in the English Premier League or the Bundesliga or the La Liga or even the French League.
Such players have delivered at times but not always and that is why many other teams came out of their shadows because of players little known to the world of football. They are not the stars of the game but surely are the stars capable of lighting the game with another aura in the years to come.
As this World Cup comes to a close it will be time for many to close our focus on the likes of Ronaldo, Messi and Suarez and other players. These guys have given us their best and the best cannot be stretched. They may have more football in them. However, elasticity give ways to others and it is time for newcomers.
Many will go home sad that Ronaldo and Messi did not add the World Cup to their closet. They have actually everything a football player needs to have in their chests or perhaps even more. They have won accolades of millions for years and that is the best trophy that they take with them as this World Cup in Russia, opens its doors for new heroes; readies for the dawn of new players.