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The World Cup And The Forecast Ritual


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Brazil seems to be the World Cup favorite, but will they meet the expectations?

The ritual of speculating about the possible winner belongs to the introduction of every World Cup. Such a ritual fulfills more than one function. It is a way of warming up for the supporters. They enter the game, even before the first match is played. Speculation is an emotional activity and emotion increases commitment; it turns you from mere spectator into a passionate supporter.

And a team cannot without support. Imagine if the players would have to do without a crowded tribune; the game wouldn’t be the same. But back to Brazil, the favorite team of this World Cup.
Those that are genuine in favor will vote for Brazil as being real supporters. They have no stake other then that they are emotionally and rationally involved: Emotional in the sense that they like the style of the team and rationally knowing that Brazil is an exporter of football talent.

There are two side effects however of this ritual, which will affect the favorite — in this case the Brazilian team.
First there is the effect of the “subject” influencing the “object”; the more we want Brazil to win, the more difficult it will be for them to do so. In fact Brazil just played against Croatia and although they did manage to beat them, it was only by a slight difference.

The other side of this bet (speculation) is that it is not only a genuine game. It is not for those that have a real stake in winning this Cup. This is part of a strategy where you try to debilitate the opponent by praising him. This is an inverted case of intimidation. Compare this with boxing. You meet someone in the ring and you have previously observed your opponent. You think you will at least equal him. Then you have others spread the rumor that the protagonist is stronger. This will increase the confidence of this boxer. This confidence however should be his nightmare, because there is no way that he is better, unless he has proven it to be.

The best team is the one that controls emotions best. You can see this when penalties are taken after a prolongation that ends even. Then is the moment of truth. All players are equally talented. Those who control their emotions best will not fail the penalties.

As for Brazil, although they have just won their first game and are for six to go, I think that they are still one behind…

© 2006 Hans Bool

Hans Bool is the founder of Astor White a traditional management consulting company that offers online management advice. Astor Online solves issues in hours what normally would take days.
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  • Posted On January 1, 2007
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