Copo Do Mundo is over - Germany are victorious. And with sweepstakes being collected up and down the country, it's time for one final blog post inspired by ‘The Greatest Show on Earth’.

In our last article themed around Brazil 2014 we took a walk down Batman Alley - The Brazilian Graffiti Artist’s Field of Play - and saw some of the country's awesome street art. This time, however, it's all about what the beautiful game can teach us about freelancing.

We'll be taking a look back at this year's competition (along with some trivia surrounding past World Cups) to see what lessons we can learn from these intercontinental footbal fixtures. Lace up your boots ‘cos here we go.

Decisions Won’t Always Go Your Way  

No World Cup is complete without a controversial decision from the man in black. A disputed red card, unfair penalty, or a free-kick that ends in a goal can end up being the only thing people remember about a tournament in years to come. 

Take one of the most famous and controversial World Cup goals of all time, for instance. The year is 1966, it's the Final, and England are playing West Germany.

Geoff Hurst fires off a shot that hits the underside of the crossbar, ricochets downwards and (seemingly) crosses the goal line before bouncing back out. With the England team already celebrating the referee consults with the linesman and awards the goal. However, today, scientific analysis suggests the ball probably didn’t cross the line. 

Fast forward 20-years to England v Argentina, 1986. It’s the quarter-final in Mexico City. England are just about holding their own against one of the favourites to take home the trophy, when Maradona uses his palm to put one past goalie, in an aerial challenge against Peter Shilton. Despite furious protests from England’s defence, the goal stands and goes down in history - forever known as ‘The Hand of God’.  

As a freelancer, the lessons you can take away here are, one: Diego Maradona is a cheat without honour - and two: whether it’s a pitch you don’t win or an amend you can’t talk a client out of making, there will be decisions that go your way and others that don’t. As a freelancer, it goes with the territory and is something you just have to get used to.

Be Fast and Reliable 

With each World Cup comes the new official match ball used throughout the tournament. This year was no different. We had Mr. Crack in ’62, the Tango in ‘78, the Azteca in ’86, and the Tricolore in ’98. This year we had the Brazuca.  

Each ball claims to be faster and more accurate than its predecessor, offering players on the pitch greater control, speed and accuracy when they take a shot. The Brazuca was no exception.

Over the last two-and-a-half years, The Brazuca underwent a thorough testing process involving more than 30 teams and 600 of the world's top players. So what does that tell us?

It tells us speed and reliability are important, and it’s the same when you freelance. When a job needs a fast turnaround, clients need freelancers they can rely on to get work done quickly, to a high standard, and without any problems.

Things Will Go Wrong

Brazil’s World Cup preparations were plagued by setbacks. The most devastating of which had to be the crane collapse which brought down a large section of the Arena Corinthians in Sao Paulo, sadly killing two.

The host nation’s problems didn’t end there. In the run-up to the tournament there were also delays, cost overruns, labour strife, riots and huge street protests. To round everything off their national side went crashing out of the competition when they were hammered 7-1 by the tournament's eventual winners.

The lesson for freelancers here? The bigger the job the more potential there is for something to go wrong. Working for yourself, you will encounter problems at some point. It’s how you deal with them that counts. 

Some Final Words of World Cup Wisdom 

Over the years, the World Cup has created legends. Players so gifted they become footballing gods, finding ascension on the pitch in front of 30,000 spectators.

Whatever field you work in, becoming the best at what you do doesn’t come without sacrifice and hard work. So here are some words of wisdom from these World Cup wonders; universal truths you can apply to your freelance career.

“Everything is practice.” ~ Pele

Whether you’re a writer, a designer or a footballer - you have to practice your art. It helps you keep your skills sharp and become better at what you do.

“There are hundreds of Beckhams playing football all over the world.” ~ Diego Maradona 

When you work freelance, competition is fierce so don’t rest on your laurels. No matter how good you are at your job, there are a dozen others just as competent, and thousand more who are ten times better.

“The trouble for today’s players is they have too many distractions.” ~ Franz Beckenbauer 

If you’re a creative freelancer try to eliminate distractions when you work. If you can, turn off your phone, ignore incoming emails, and avoid checking Facebook. You’ll get more done and your work will be all the better for it.

“Why lie? I'm not going to be a hypocrite and say the opposite of what I think.” ~ Cristiano Ronaldo 

Don’t lie to clients. And be straight with them if you think something is wrong. Let them know your thoughts, offer them your expertise, and if they still disagree with you - fine. But being a ‘yes man’ doesn’t do anyone any favours.

“You have to fight to reach your dream. You have to sacrifice and work hard for it.” ~ Lionel Messi 

Freelancing’s tough. It’s a life full of late nights, lost weekends and little recognition for your efforts. But you know what, it can also be very rewarding. Put in the hours now and with any luck it’ll pay off further down the line.

“Soccer is simple, but it is difficult to play simple.” ~ Johan Cruyff 

More important than knowing what’s needed, is knowing what isn’t. Keep things simple. If something’s not necessary, get rid of it. It’s easy to overcomplicate creative work, so be honest, be brutal, and if you can, be rid of anything that isn’t essential.

“People react to criticism in different ways and my way is definitely to come out fighting.” ~ David Beckham 

Where there’s creativity there are critics. Design’s very subjective, so it’s impossible to please everyone, and inevitable that, during your freelance career, your work will come in for some form of criticism. The trick is not to take it to heart. Learn from it and move on.

“Everything has to be excellent. Each touch, each pass, each dribble. Sometimes it makes life more difficult, but it’s our hallmark.” ~ Xavi 

In the game of freelancers you’ll be up against a lot of other skilled players. You can’t get lazy. Remember, you’re only as good as your last job, so throw everything you have into a project (no matter how small) and make excellence your hallmark as a freelancer. 

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