Spain again. For the first time in a row, a soccer national team won three major tournaments in a row: Euro 2008, World Cup 2010 and Euro 2012. Congratulations to coach Del Bosque and his team.
Prior to the tournament and even in its early stages, many expected Spain to fail this time, expecting the team to be saturated and not as greedy as their challengers. Spain proved them all wrong.
In business and in sports, many say that becoming number one is easier than staying on top. So how did the Spanish team manage to stay focused and what can we learn from them for our endeavors and businesses?
A short video that captured during the dying minutes of Spain’s 4-0 thrashing of Italy is going viral and teaches the lesson: Click here.
It’s the referee’s decision how much stoppage time to add and in most cases they add two, three or even four minutes, depending on if any injuries occurred during the match, how many substitutions took place, etc. However, with a score line of 4-0 for Spain, it was obvious after 90 minutes that Italy had lost the match. In similar situations in tournament finals (where goal differences doesn’t matter at all), some referees have not added any stoppage time at all. Pedro Proença however did add quite a lot and every minute must have felt like a year to the hammered Italian players.
The video shows that during stoppage time, Spanish keeper Iker Casillas approached one of the referees with the following words:
“Ref! Ref! Respect for the rival! Respect for Italia! 4-0” – asking the referees to stop the game immediately to respect the losing team. And when after 93 minutes and three seconds Proença finally ended the game, Casillas went to the Italian players to shake hands first, before joining the celebrations.
Respect is a word that does not always have the best reputation in the business world. Often it seems as if those that show no respect are the most successful ones. But the Casillas example exhibits that the opposite is true. If you respect a competitor, if you respect a rival, you will never take things too easy.
No matter how successful you are, if you want to stay on top never lose respect for your challengers and competitors. A great lesson from a great soccer player.