The quirky superstitions that footballers (and others) rely on, Latest Football News - The New Paper

The quirky superstitions that footballers (and others) rely on

FRANKFURT, Germany – Right boot, left boot; left laces, right laces; right foot first on the pitch. For Slovakia's Lukas Haraslin – like countless other sportspeople – the order of this pre-match routine will be sacrosanct ahead of his side's last-16 Euro 2024 clash with England on Sunday.

The winger will also have the same breakfast and lunch, and he'll dress for the game in under two minutes – two more items on his list of superstitions that, if carefully observed, he hopes will bring him luck in the game.

On the other side, England midfielder Kobbie Mainoo will have his usual pesto pasta meal, the same as before any match. Once on the pitch, Kyle Walker will fill his mouth with water and spray it out like a fire-breather at the circus, a pre-game ritual he observes in honour of former wrestler Triple H.

It may seem nonsensical but several studies over the years by sociologists have come to the same conclusion: superstitions provide little physical help to players but mentally they can instil confidence and belief, and that is their charm.

Germany coach Julian Nagelsmann has a pre-game superstition around energy drinks. He always drinks the same type until they lose a game and then he switches. And they must always be brought to him by assistant coach Benni Glueck.

Germany striker Niclas Fuellkrug has less of a superstition than a ritual: He holds both his ears and then twists them when coming onto the pitch. It dates back to when his father coached him at his childhood club.

"Before training we all stood in a circle. He said: 'This is our switch. If we flip it, then it's only about football'. Then we concentrated on training. You can't forget where you come from and where it all started," Fuellkrug told Borussia Dortmund TV.

Even the greats of the game have their superstitions. Cristiano Ronaldo likes to be last out of the tunnel and enters the pitch with his right foot before leaping into the air, while ex-England striker Gary Lineker would not shoot during the pre-game warm-up for fear of using up his goals.

David Beckham had to make sure everything in his fridge was neatly aligned before matches.

The list of quirks goes on.

Jamie Vardy helped Leicester City to the most unlikely of Premier League wins in the 2015-16 season. Allegedly, he drank half a bottle of port the night before every game and then had three Red Bulls on the day of each match.

And coaches are no different. Former France boss Raymond Domenech reportedly left players with the star sign Scorpio out of his squads because he didn’t trust them.

But current Portugal coach Roberto Martinez has no time for superstitions, and perhaps understandably so.

"I was born on Friday the 13th, so therefore I'm not the kind of person to be superstitious." – REUTERS