All things considered, it's been an enjoyable experience. Seems like karma's been putting things right with this World Cup (England-Germany disputed match of '66, France-Ireland qualification debacle, Italian win through questionable means in 2006...);
The exit of some big names early on in the tournament is proving something to most people (one point especially that my Mum always emphasized) - the fundamentals are very important, and no team, no matter how great it is can get by unless it is DISCIPLINED. There's no discounting the odd bad luck that may befall a team (preview Ghana vs. Uruguay), but lack of Discipline is a guaranteed faux pas. The dissension among the ranks in the English and French teams proves this.
Striking at the World Cup? The team that had the dubious distinction of pulling that move off in 2006 was Angola, and didn't the world breath a sigh of relief when that team didn't progress any further.
If I were to wax philosophical, I would say,
And over all these skills put on DISCIPLINE, which binds them all together in perfect unity.I say this with particularly heavy-hearted emphasis on my own country Kenya's football aspirations. Plagued by chaos stemming from a Top-Down lack of recognition of what it takes to make a great team, we've always been disappointed in international competition. Not for lack of talent, nor opportunity, but a basic failure to inculcate discipline into our own ranks.
I think it is very telling that Nigeria would go so far as to suspend their National team from international competition for 2 years of basic rebuilding. Granted, not everyone might be able to pull this off, nor would it bode well for FIFA's planning if every country under the sun were just to up and take a 'sabbatical'...
...but, for my country's sake, maybe that's just what we need; breathing room to step back and gain a sense that the ultimate prize here is not individual fame and fortune, but the respect and honour that it brings to your Mother-Country. I can't think of a time when people are more united as when they cheer for the same team. All differences put aside, all hopes and prayers raised towards one end. That's the way I'd like to see my national team unite the country.
...And, having just watched the Ghana-Uruguay match, I would love it if we also had the chance to carry the continent's aspirations.
Unfortunately, lesson number 2, short and pithy as it is, comes from that same game,
Sometimes it's the lucky team that prevailsContrary to pundit previews, Ghana was the better of the two teams today (hands down!!!). I guess the question then is whether you'd rather be "Good" or "Lucky"?
Anyhow, back to the old studies. Enjoy your World Cup, whichever team you support (GERMANY)