LESSONS FROM THE BATTLE OF KIEV

On wednesday in Ukraine, Portugal had the biggest assignment any footballing nation could ever have. They were to square up against the ‘sexy football’ boys of Spain. A lot had been said about La Roja prior to the tournament. One pertinent question everyone kept asking was “can they retain their title?” Spain is known for its ‘tiki-taka’ football, but in this tournament, the tiki-taka brand has not been as effective as it used to. It’s public knowledge that La Roja has lost its killer instinct in the final third. All passing and no penetration. As a result of this, everyone expected Portugal,led by their talismanic speed daemon,Cristiano Ronaldo to give the sexy football boys a run for their money, if not actually, ‘stealing’ the money all together. Well, the Portuguese came, they saw, and they believed tiki-taka! For 90 minutes, Ronaldo and his gang threatened to be a match for the men in red, but in extra time, they were forced to disappear into oblivion. I watched the game with keen interest, and at the end, I was able to deduce the following morals which I believe to hold true in other facets of life.

1. THE PATIENT DOG DOESN’T ALWAYS EAT THE FATTEST BONE: Portuguese speed daemon, Cristiano Ronaldo had been impressive in the first 90 minutes of play but went missing in the 30 minutes of extra time. Big deal! No superstar in a team playing against a Barca-Madrid filled Spanish side always stays in limelight for the entire duration of a match. You must go MIA at some point – no thanks to the tiki taka routine of the Spanish side. During the penalty shoot-out, CR7 opted to take the fifth penalty for his side. But he never had the chance as two team mates of his lost their earlier spot kicks and the shoot-out was put to an end abruptly by Cesc Fabregas when he coolly slotted his shot home to send Spain through. Ronaldo was patient,but he never had the chance. In whatever you do, know that as much as patience is a virtue, you must learn when to strike. Learn to take what rightfully belongs to you ‘violently’ if you have to. Sometimes,you just have to be a Nani(who stopped Bruno Alves half-way when he(Alves) wanted to take his penalty kick the first time, and took it instead), not a Ronaldo.

2.NO MATTER HOW GOOD YOU ARE, YOU CAN BE REPLACED AT ANYTIME: Everybody knows Xavi and what he brings to the game. But on the night, the Spanish midfield maestro had to be replaced in the second half. Xavi wasn’t playing badly, but the coach had a better idea. In whatever you do or in all your achievements, never relax on your laurels. Step up your game or risk being replaced by somebody who has a better idea. Ask MySpace about Facebook!

3. NOTHING CAN STOP A DETERMINED MAN: Sergio Ramos made the headlines sometime in May when he played his penalty to Mars instead of into the net in front of him in the Champions League game between his side, Real Madrid and Bayernmunich. His coach, Jose Mourinho must have regretted giving him this advise prior to the game: “If you want to make it in life,aim for the skies.” Ramos took the advise to the extreme. On wednesday, Ramos atoned for that sin when he confidently replicated a Pirlo panenka-style penalty. Only a lad who is determined to forget the past and face the task in front of him could have done that. In life, your past matters as much as you let it.

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