The underdog will always win (if they want to)

In 2004 the Greek National Football team did something remarkable, they become European Champions in the Euro 2004 competition in Portugal. Greece was definitely an outsider and beat all expectations that summer. Greeks were ecstatic with the win and thought that it was the beginning of a Greek domination in European Football. This, of course, was not the case as the Greek National team not only lost their first official match but had a mediocre year in terms of results. Fast forward to 2020, Greece is thriving as an example nation in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, is it a moment like 2004 or an opportunity for greatness?

In 2004, after the successful European Championship, the expectation was for Greece not only to qualify but to go through the final stage of the World Cup but this is somewhat impossible. In order for a team to actually turn from underdog to champion in the long run, something fundamental has to happen and in National teams, it’s a long process as money can’t buy talent. What happens when you have the resources to speed up the process, resources like money? The answer can be found in the Premier League.

In the Summer of 2015, Leicester City has just managed to remain in the Premier League avoiding relegation placing 14th. The next year a miracle happened, after 38 matches Leicester managed to be crowned the new English Champion in Football for the 1st time. A true Cinderella story that is similar to the Greek success of 2004. However, as it happens with all Cinderella’s, when the ball is over they return to their normal lives, so Leicester placed 12th the following year.

On the other hand, Manchester City has been in the top 3 positions of the Premier League for the past 10 years. The team was struggling in the mid-low positions for 30 years before that and due to a change in ownership and management, a mediocre team became a champion. Money does buy a championship but effective management can get you a back to back 1st place.

So what does this mean for any team? Money is a catalyst, it speeds things up but an effective management can create a legend.

The 2020 Team Greece, the team that is fighting against the Coronavirus spread, is now winning the race towards becoming a “champion” of national emergency response. This is a step towards the right direction but it doesn’t mean it’s a change in the Greek brand of great government management. The Greek brand is deeply harmed due to the past decade. Greece has been hit with the Financial Crisis since 2008 and has just managed to get out it 11 years later, a result of political turbulence and instability. This is the reason why the rest of the world is astonished by how Greeks are responding so efficiently when more organized countries like Belgium, France, and the USA have failed to control the virus.

Greece has already managed to amaze the world with the ability to act fast and efficient, building their success story. It all comes down to the expectation they had for the country’s ability for crisis management. The difference between a one time winner and a champion is the ability to manage your wins and make them an inspiration for the next. Whatever we, Greeks do, we have to understand that taking a step back is not a bad thing, it’s part of the “knowing thy self-style management” the current Greek government has been promoting. We cant expect Greece to become a global leader in 2 months, we don’t have the resources to do it. Money is the fuel of the shooting star but without it Greece has to choose the only other alternative of patience and execution.

Greece has been given the opportunity to be back with the adults in the room but for a trial period. The country is still an underdog but with higher expectations. However, nobody expects Greece to thrive after this crisis and that is why it’s a great opportunity to do so. We just have to apply what we did right today to the issues of tomorrow, be decisive and execute.

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Konstantinos Santikos

Konstantinos Santikos

Hotelier & Tourism Enthousiast

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