As a spectator or casual athlete yourself, you can certainly admire the skills of the World Cup players — but as an investor, you can also learn a great deal from them. Let’s look at some key areas of soccer and see how they may apply to your investment philosophy and techniques.

OFFENSE When a forward, or “striker,” scores a goal in a soccer game, it can look almost effortless. But it’s not that simple. Before the striker could even make the kick, the ball had to be moved around, sometimes by almost the entire team, before it was in the right place for the striker to shoot. As an investor, you, too must position your portfolio properly so that, when the occasion arises, you can take some “good shots.” Specifically, stay invested in the market, so you’ll be prepared to take advantage of good buying opportunities, as when prices drop.

DEFENSE In soccer, the defenders, such as the fullbacks and the goalkeeper, must anticipate the opposing team’s moves and then react to them. And as an investor, you must be ready to cope with threats, such as market volatility, economic turmoil, inflation and so on. When these forces appear, you may need to adjust your portfolio in one way or another. However, your best defense is preparation — and one of the best ways to be prepared for any event that could affect your investments is to build a diversified portfolio.

Diversification can help smooth out the ups and downs of the market to help reduce the effect any one investment may have on your portfolio. (Keep in mind, though, that diversification, by itself, cannot guarantee a profit or protect against a loss.)

STAMINA As you watch World Cup matches, you will see very few substitutions. In fact, only three players can be substituted throughout the entire course of a game, which places a premium on players’ stamina. As an investor, you also need to have the staying power to “go the distance,” despite the bumps in the road you will encounter. But if you have the patience and discipline to keep investing for the long term, your efforts may be rewarded.

TEAMWORK For a World Cup team to succeed, it needs outstanding teamwork. The players must know one another’s tendencies, must communicate well and must trust each other to make the right plays. When you invest, you can also benefit from working with a team, which may consist of your financial advisor, your tax advisor and your legal advisor. The investment world can be complex, with ever-changing laws and regulations, so you’ll want to be confident that you’re making the right moves at the right time. You may never get to play in the World Cup, but, by observing the players and the games closely, you can learn some lessons that can apply to your portfolio.