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GONE-TO-GROUND: but it wasn’t a dive

GONE-TO-GROUND: but it wasn’t a dive

Winning is everything.

I’m sure this is not a new idea for most of you.

Personally, I don’t believe it is true, but the same can’t be said for most the football experts who have been analysing the World Cup that has just kicked off in Brazil.

That means we will probably be hearing that take on the competition so often over the next few weeks that it could become an idea that no one ever thinks about challenging.

That’s why I chose the headline you see at the top of this column… and that’s why I’m going to challenge the ‘winning is everything’ concept right now at the beginning of the event.

‘It is okay that you lost; winning isn’t everything’ sounds pretty lame after the fact – which is when you most often hear it – but still, that doesn’t mean it isn’t true.

I should mention that I’ve been listening to the World Cup lead up over here in the UK so most of the talk has been about the England squad and what they have to do to win.

There have been many morally dodgy comments but the ones that bother me the most were made by Sunderland Manager Gus Poyet and England Assistant Coach Gary Neville.

Both had very successful Premier League careers and both represented their countries, Uruguay and England respectively, in past World Cups.

Talking about England’s group encounter with Uruguay, Poyet said English players are too nice and that if they want to have a chance to win they should kick Louis Suarez and his teammates to make them less effective.

Basically he was saying England should cheat.

Neville, meanwhile, has called on English players to learn how to dive effectively to win – or in my opinion steal – free-kicks and penalties.

Again, he was saying cheating is the way to go.

But isn’t that a really sad way to view ‘the beautiful game’ or anything else in this life?

Whatever became of overcoming all the obstacles and winning fair and square?

I think cheaters are just admitting to themselves, their opponents and everyone else that they don’t think they are good enough to win a fair fight.

Interestingly, though, that is not the only argument against trying to win at all costs.

I’ll use the practice of diving as an example.

When Suarez first came to the Premier League he won several penalties for Liverpool by falling down in the penalty area when he wasn’t actually fouled.

That gained a few points for his team but it wasn’t enough to help them qualify for the European competitions.

It also earned him a reputation as a diver.

This season Liverpool challenged for the title and could easily have won the FA Cup as well but they didn’t benefit from as many Suarez penalties because the referees had learned he is an actor and they didn’t give him any benefit of the doubt.

When his team were knocked out of the FA Cup by one goal, an Arsenal player obviously fouled Suarez in the area but referee Howard Webb didn’t give it because he wasn’t 100 percent certain.

That very possibly cost Liverpool the Cup.

Sure it is important to do our best and give it everything we’ve got in order to try to win, but it is the effort – which is something we have control over – not the result that is really important.




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