World Cup 2022: Power Of The Underdogs

Raleigh Addington
Raleigh Addington
editor at Chartwell Speakers

There have been several big upsets at this year’s Qatar World Cup. First, much-fancied Argentina were beaten 2-1 by Saudi Arabia. The next day, four-time winners Germany fell to Japan by the same scoreline. Yesterday, Belgium, second in FIFA’s world rankings, lost 2-0 to Morocco. 

What did these underdogs have in common? They were united and proactive. So often we see lesser teams get players behind the ball and hope for a quick break or kind deflection. But Saudi Arabia, Japan, and Morocco refused to be hostages of fortune. They played high up the pitch, pressing and hassling their opponents. They had a plan and stuck to it as a team. That teamwork and tempered aggression counted for more than having world-class individuals like Lionel Messi, Thomas Muller, and Kevin de Bruyne. The underdogs deserved to win. 

It is easy to be overawed when your opponent is talked up. Pundits speak of teams being beaten before they get on the pitch, such is the reputation of their illustrious opponents. In Qatar though, unfavoured nations are competing. They are making and executing practical plans to fell tournament royalty. 

We believe businesses can learn from this approach. Rather than feeling helpless in the face of difficult headwinds, organisations must unite and motivate their workforce to tackle these challenges proactively. External circumstances will always be talked up but they are not insurmountable. Take heart from the examples set thus far in the World Cup. 

To help adopt the right mindset, Chartwell recommends: 

Nir Eyal
Expert on psychology and healthy habits. Bestselling author of “Hooked” and “Indistractable”


Nirmal Purja
Star of Netflix series, “14 Peaks”, record-breaking mountaineer, and former special forces soldier


Simon Sinek
Leadership guru and author of “Start with Why” 


Leymah Gbowee
Liberian Peace Activist and 2011 Nobel Peace Laureate