The World Cup has lessons for everyone (apart from the key tip that cynical diving can gain a result). Twenty to 30 years ago there was a handful of elite teams, a slightly larger second tier who could occasionally trouble them and a large swathe of enthusiastic but outclassed performers who made up the numbers and dreamt.
These days the largest group is the second-tier where, thanks to the globalisation of skills and opportunities, most of them can regularly match it with the elite, push them hard and, if opportunity arises, spring a (mild) surprise. There are a lot of good to very good teams.
Here is the rub: there still is something indefinable but undeniable that the great teams have which separates them from the pack at crucial moments. Greatness isn't thrust upon them; it's within them.
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