Football | Penalty Shoot-outs | Project Management | Negotiations

Beyond Luck: Ace Your High-Stakes Meetings as if They Were a Penalty Shoot-Out

From the Football Pitch to the Meeting Room

Fabio Turel
5 min readAug 7


I am not a football fan.

This fact often surprises my friends due to my Italian background. On one peculiar evening, I found myself in a peculiar situation: I had invited a couple of (non-Italian) friends over for dinner, and as I prepared the meal, they were absorbed in a football match on TV. Adding to my friends’ surprise at my disinterest, the high-stakes match was between Spain and Italy.

After 120 minutes of intense play, the high-stakes match between Italy and Spain ended in a draw, prompting my friends to urgently summon me to witness the penalty shootout — a crucial moment that, to be honest, I struggled to relate to.

Little did I suspect that this event would be etched in my memory.

An unexpected lesson from the pitch

As I approached the TV, a curious exchange between the Italian and Spanish captains was happening. The outcome of the coin toss, a seemingly trivial aspect of the game, turned into a captivating drama due to a minor misunderstanding between the two.

What struck me most was not the dispute itself, but rather the stark contrast in the captains’ attitudes.

The Italian captain, looking more like a comedian than a football strategist, treated the misunderstanding as the joke of the century. With a playful grin, he mockingly referred to his counterpart as mentiroso (liar in Spanish), and using his considerable size advantage, he even went so far as to lift the Spanish captain off the ground in a bear hug.

In contrast, the Spanish captain seemed to miss out on the excitement, visibly flustered and annoyed by the situation, as if he would rather be anywhere else but in that moment.

In that fleeting moment, the realization struck me with absolute clarity: Italy was going to win the shootout.



Fabio Turel

A Project Manager must be a good storyteller. Stories about my profession, my interests and my passions converge in this place.