The Great Debate

from The Great Debate UK:

Luck is the residue of design—even in football


- Isaac Getz is a professor at ESCP Europe Business School and co-author of Freedom, Inc. (Crown Business, 2009). The opinions expressed are his own. -

This Sunday will decide the World Cup champion. Yet, most nations will ask themselves again what’s needed to build a world-class national team?

The majority will go for the easy answers: great players, great coach. England had both. Some nations, though, might search for more complex answers—as Germany did.

After the French won both the 1998 World and 2000 European championships, the German World Cup winning player and coach Franz Beckenbauer said: "France is a model with its school tracks [combining] sports and studies and its [soccer clubs’] training centers. We are trying to copy… but we will need ten years to catch up with them."

And Germany did. Its football federation completely redesigned the German football system. Its most important new component became the mandatory academy for every professional club which trains future great players beginning from the age of 12.

from The Great Debate UK:

What’s a goal (or five) worth?

simon_chadwick-Professor Simon Chadwick, Director, Centre for the International Business of Sport, Coventry, UK. The opinions expressed are his own. -

There is a famous song, composed in the run-up to UEFA Euro 96, in which the Lightening Seeds, Frank Skinner and David Baddiel refer to England’s 30 years of hurt (the period at the time since England won its one and only World Cup).

England recently took a step closer towards addressing their continued failure to win world football’s biggest prize, by beating Croatia 5-1 to qualify for next year’s FIFA World Cup in South Africa. In so doing, the team also overcame its two years of hurt, following a failure to qualify for Euro 2008 at the hands of their Croatian rivals.