The Underdog – Three Approaches – World Cup Edition – Iceland

Let’s be honest, we all love an underdog story (as long as it’s not our team that’s the giant being slayed). This week we will be looking at three approaches for how an underdog can get a result, and we’ll look at which is most effective long-term and whether the results justify the means.

Iceland scored an unexpected result grabbing a tie against Argentina. They tied with Portugal and beat England just two years ago, so it isn’t completely unknown for them to stand tall against the bigger fish. Holding off Messi though, that’s a pretty big achievement, and one American commentator went to far as to say “Iceland beats Argentina 1-1.” Not sure if that says more about the commentator or the state of the game in the US.

It was quite disappointing having seen Iceland beat England by out playing them watching them sit back and take a beating for almost 90 minutes. They have shown they have more about them than just sitting back and hoping their defence holds out. The big danger of this approach is that as we saw with Manchester City who faced the bus-parking opponent in last season’s Premier League, if the bus-parking team lets in a goal it’s all over. City were the first team to win 100 points, scored over 100 goals, and broke records playing a lot of games against teams who tried to hold them off. Iceland had a lucky escape against Argentina.

The reality is that the World Cup is a tournament. You don’t win anything by stopping your opponents, survival is dependent upon winning. You can’t win by simply trying to stop your opponents, you have to show initiative. This week we will be looking at other teams who have done exactly that, and shown two other approaches to taking control of your own destiny and facing the giants in your life.

Here are today’s three takeaways:

1 – There are different approaches when you’re the underdog. When you are attacked, you have fight, flight, or freeze. In those instances, simply fighting off your attacker may be the best option.

2 – If you are trying to achieve a goal, simply stopping your competitors isn’t enough. You have to find ways to be better than them.

3 – If your goal is to simply hold off your opponent, they will adapt and learn and so will others. Iceland held Portugal to a 1-1 tie in the European Championships. The were soundly beaten by France who lost in the final, to Portugal.

The end doesn’t always justify the means. Allowing your competition to beat you up and claiming a good result because you didn’t suffer any broken bones isn’t a solid strategy for long-term success. There are others who have shown how to effectively grow, and we will look and them this week.

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