The experts all predicted that Germany would win Sunday's group-stage World Cup 2018 game with Mexico. After all, the German national football team was ranked No. 1, won the last World Cup, and is second only to Brazil for winning the most titles.

Yet somehow No. 15-ranked Mexico rallied through 90 nail-biting minutes to defeat Germany, 1-0.

And along the way, Mexico's coach, Juan Carlos Osorio, offered this advice to every leader who seeks to inspire your team through challenging situations:

1. Set a strategy, make sure every team member understands what to do, and then stick to your plan. As Rory Smith wrote in The New York Times, "For six months, Osorio had worked on a blueprint just for this game. He had to adapt it, slightly, because of injury or loss of form, he said, but he knew exactly what he wanted to do, knew exactly how he felt Mexico might beat Germany."

2. Don't be conservative just because the competition is tough. Wrote Andrew Keh in the Times: "To a neutral supporter, Mexico would have had little reason to be embarrassed had it played conservatively, focused on securing a tie, before opening up against its next two, lesser opponents in the first round of play."

Keh continued, "But Osorio announced his intentions openly at a news conference the night before the game. 'We will not change the way we play. We have our style in the Mexican national team, and we're going to match up with (Germany's) game.'"

3. Encourage team members to play as if they're going to win, even when the odds are against them. As Osorio said afterward, he told his team to "play for the love of winning, not the fear of losing."

4. Make the most of team members' strengths. Osorio put his talented players to work on the stuff they do best. For example, wrote Keh: "Osorio deployed Miguel Layún, of Sevilla, as an attack-minded midfielder, tasking him with kick-starting the rapid counterattacks he felt could expose Germany's defense, pushed further forward than Osorio believed was wise."

And "more subtly, he asked Carlos Vela to drop a little deeper than normal, to prevent Germany midfielders Sami Khedira and Toni Kroos from settling into a rhythm. He warned Vela, the Los Angeles F.C. forward, it would be a tough job."

5. Give your all--and ask team members to do their best. "We were brave, and defended with our hearts," said Osorio after the upset.

Keh wrote, "What stood out in the huge upset against the defending World Cup champions was how aggressive, fearless and uninhibited Osorio's team looked."

As striker Javier Hernández said, "We only need to obey his orders. If he wants to tell us, 'Throw yourself headfirst to stop the ball,' we're going to do it, because we're with him."

 

 

Published on: Jun 18, 2018
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