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A giant leap into the desert | PR Ireland

A giant leap into the desert

We are now days away from the start of the World Cup, you wonder how ready it will be. Like every major sporting event down the years, be it the winter or the summer Olympics, or the 2018 World Cup in Russia, the finer details are last minute. Qatar is playing host to the beautiful game, but it is hosting it in the city of Doha, the smallest place ever to host such a major global event.

UK media is up in arms over the organisers’ payments to Beckham and other UK football stars over the painful issues regarding human rights, LGBTQ people and the estimated 6,500 dead migrant workers.

The plight of Qatar is not an easy one. Many are choosing to note the corporate sponsors and avoid Adidas, McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, Budweiser and Hyundai-Kia. Also in that list is Visa and Crypto.com. Many plan to boycott these brands. As we have seen over the years, boycotting is not the smartest way of having your voice heard. Instead, turn up, be brazen in your tone of voice, wear your rainbow colours and let the host country know your feelings. However, one of the main problems with Qatar in the first place is that it may not be safe to do this.

Nearer the time, I fear a lot of the noise will be forgotten before the first touch of the ball takes place. Reading through the weekend’s papers, the Financial Times had a very good piece where seven World Cup winners explained how they won.

The answer for Killian Mbappé was total conviction on the day of the final ‘’When you’re in the World Cup final, you’re convinced that you’re going to win. Even the Croats were convinced they were going to win. You walk on to the field and the trophy is there, between the two teams, and you tell yourself it’s impossible that the other team will take it.’’

Cafu, the last Brazilian captain to win the World Cup and the only man to play in three World Cup finals, makes no bones about prioritising winning over playing beautifully football; “In 1982 and 1986, Brazil played beautiful football. But the ones who had the medals around their necks were the 1994 players, who didn’t play beautifully, but who were efficient.’’

A less well known name is Bernd Hὂlzenbein, who won with West Germany in 1974, made the point that perspective is everything and he doesn’t regard winning the World Cup as one of the central moment of his life or career; “In the World Cup team the big figures in the hierarchy were Beckenbauer, Müller, Overath. I myself was younger, less important. But at Eintracht Frankfurt I was captain, and I must say that winning the Uefa Cup as captain was almost as important to me as winning the World Cup.”

Certainly some lessons not just in football but also in daily life and business. Conviction to win, working efficiently and effectively and an ability to maintain a sense of perspective about it all.

Hὂlzenbein in particular was very interesting on how some World Cups are just more important than others. For the German people, he said, their win in 1954, as West Germany began to re-emerge, was far more important than 1974.

it is hard to imagine anyone wanting to remember the 2022 edition, which actually ends on 18th December. There has never been less hype or excitement in the build up to a World Cup and for good reason. The only thing that can save the tournament from being an odious episode of football’s history is a rank outsider coming from nowhere to capture peoples’ hearts and minds.

Qatar 2022 might still be watched by football fans, but the casual viewer won’t be tuning in this year.

Paul

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