Bravi Azurri! The Italians deserved to win. They outplayed and outmaneuvered the opponents, including using what they call “furbo.” It means being wily, cunning, or tricky. It’s an integral life skill as well as football skill. It works and it’s part of emotional intelligence.

As you know, Materazzi managed to provoke Zidane, and the rest is history. Watching it, it was hard to believe what we were seeing. Whatever it was, couldn’t Zidane have let it pass?

Well, he did not. He took the bait, as a great article from bbc points out, which includes commentary from Mark Hateley, former AC Milan striker.

What happened was Zidane was provoked, “sledging” the Brits call it, and he lost it. This emotional provocation is part of soccer, part of every sport, and part of life. Those who want to win, know that if you can get the opponent emotional, make them angry, get them to lose their cool (and with it their focus and concentration), you can win. Hately calls it “a fundamental and legitimate way of gaining an advantage.”

Like it or not, it’s a tactic that’s used because it works on every playing field – sports, office, home, wherever.
Reports vary on what Materazzi said, but you can bet he knew the biggest sore point, and went for it.
“[They try] and get a reaction from you,” said Hateley. “It’s always been like that and it always will be.”

The Italian team happened to be masters at the game of nerves, just sitting there and soaking up the pressure. Along with their exceptional skill, it won the game for them. Great emotional management there. They also used the other teams’ weakness in this area to their advantage, including individual temperament problems. Hately makes it clear the Italians deserved the win and that taunting isn’t unique to the Italians, though they ‘re exceptional at it. “Every team in England has its wind-up merchants,” he says.

Now isn’t that just the perfect phrase, because that’s what they do. If you can’t control yourself, someone else can wind you up just like a toy rabbit and send you off while they steal your cookies. When we get angry, we lose what we saw Zidane lose. Point. Match. We lose the Game.

And to add insult to injury, someone provokes you, you lash out, you get the penalty. It happens all the time. You simply must have Emotional Intelligence.


How do you fare against the "wind-up merchants"? Are you known to be "overreactive" and people use it against you? Do you lack emotional intelligence? Are you aware of how you let other people manipulate you via your emotions? We cannot think clearly, focus or concentrate, when we’re angry, worried, or upset.

And ladies, this is second-nature to men, learned on the playing fields if not innate. It comes up a lot dating. You will be tested. (Why, I don't know, except it's a guy thing.) If he can get your goat, he won't respect you and will move on, but not before calling you short, having cut off your legs (i.e., "You're too emotional") , and not before sleeping with you, so don’t be naïve about this. If you don’t have emotional intelligence, you’ll lose the guy, lose your self-respect, and lose the game.

In my "It's a Jungle Out There" Internet course (interactive) we go over all the tactics and ploys and how to maneuver through the mine-fields. You may not wish to be furbo at a particular time, but you certainly need to know what to do when it’s being used on you. Emotional Intelligence is both your sword and your shield, helping you understand those powerful emotions and how to make them work for you, not against you.

Take a moment right now and think about someone at work. Got them pictured in your mind? Now, don’t you know exactly what you could say to them that would send them over the top if you wanted to?

It’s likely people know this exact same information about you, unless you (1) have maintained enough of a game face so your vulnerabilities aren’t transparent; and (2) haven’t taken the bait enough so that it’s blatantly obvious.

Whoever the person is, no-brainers that would work on just about anyone, include: ethnicity, sexual prowess, religion, insulting partner or child, appearance, money, you know, all the things we hold dear, the things our self-esteem is built on (and our egos hand on), all the things that matter to us and we are EMOTIONAL ABOUT.

We’re born knowing how to fight; otherwise we would never survive. Then we’re taught how to get along. But, as I point out in the “It’s a Jungle” course, we aren’t always taught how to fight as adult, in the adult world, appropriately, and as needed; and just as importantly, how to defend and protect ourselves. This includes recognizing when you are being attacked and managing the emotions around that. That’s Emotional Intelligence.

You can learn how to handle those difficult people, including the wind-up merchants. There’s nothing sadder than self-sabotaging yourself when you’re the better player because you can’t handle your emotions. Ask Zidane.

Wouldn’t you rather learn “the lesson” in an Internet course than on the playing field?

See great article on bbc, “How Rife is Taunting in Football? By Richard Hookam, here: .

Author's Bio: 

Susan Dunn, MA, The EQ Coach,, . Susan helps players win withEmotional Intelligence. Coach training and certification,individual coaching, business programs, Internet coursesand ebooks. Susan is the author of "It's a Jungle OutThere" (email for info), and The EQ Course, . Email for fr** ezines. You can't win if you can't handle your emotions.