How Should a Professional or National Sports Team Play When They’re Winning by a Significant Margin?

Thanks to Katy for sharing this image!

Thanks to Katy for sharing this image!

Today we witnessed a true rarity at a World Cup: When the teams left the field for the locker room at halftime, Germany was leading Brazil by 5 goals.

In interviews later that evening, the German players confessed that they knew they had won the game at that point. It’s tough to come back from a 1-0 deficit in the World Cup, much less a 5-o deficit. It just wasn’t going to happen.

But then they had to decide how to play the second half. Should they just pass the ball around for 45 minutes? Should they continue to play normally and try to score? They’re playing Brazil in Brazil, so that has to be factored in as well.

Germany isn’t the first team to face this conundrum. American football teams face it all the time, as do basketball and baseball teams. Is there a proper way to respond when you’re winning by a significant margin?

Here’s my take: You should respect the other team and respect the fans who paid you to entertain them. Part of that respect means that you don’t treat the other team like a loser. By continuing to play the game instead of simply stalling and wasting time, you show the other team that you respect their ability to come back. And when you score, don’t go over the top with the celebrations. Keep them mild. No need to rub it in.

As for the fans, you wouldn’t be on the field without them. If you play a sport, your job is to entertain people. Part of that means that you should continue to advance. In any sport, don’t just sit back and pass the ball around. Continue to move forward out of respect for the people who paid to watch you do that.

But that’s just my opinion. What do you think? I must admit that I wasn’t able to watch the game today, only the highlights, so I’m not sure how Germany responded to being up 5-0.