Reuters reported (via Yahoo News) June 12 that host nation Brazil isn't above getting a little help from God. They've even lit up Rio's famous Christ the Redeemer statue with the colors of all the nations involved in the 2014 World Cup (32 nations). Each nation gets a few seconds, their national colors becoming the color of the statue's robes.
The Brazilian Catholic Church wanted to show that as the host of the 2014 World Cup, the Lord would play no favorites. Still, the favorite colors are those of Brazil's flag (green and gold). And that hasn't stopped the church itself from blessing the national team...
Nor has it stopped Brazil's most famous warlock, who has his own set of magical blessings to bestow on the team. Not as globally inclusive as the Catholic Church, he told Reuters that he was burning candles in the colors of the Brazilian flag and wax boots like those worn by Neymar (Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior), considered one of the Top 10 players in the world.
Over in the U. K., a priest blessed a 17-foot "lucky" boot made out of 1,500 Pringles (yes, the potato chip company) cannisters to support Britain's national team. The boot was constructed after a Pringles survey discovered that 50 percent of British football fans have match day superstitions. The rathere large green shoe will be housed at the National Football Museum in Manchester throughout the 2014 World Cup.
The odd rituals and good luck blessings are nothing new, of course. Back at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, one contingent wanted to slaughter cows to bless the ten stadiums where the tournament would be held.
And Americans can empathize with this penchant to pray, bless, or find some ritual whereby one's favorite team is favored by God, the gods, or good luck spirits that might in some way influence the outcome of a game. It was the topic of a Bud Light advertising campaign, where various football (American) fans engaged in strange rituals in order to appease the football gods. These included rubbing bald heads, wearing "lucky" jerseys or other clothing items, one guy staying in the basement (because that's when his team seemed to score), playing a certain song on the jukebox, a grouping of beer bottles arranged in the shape of a horseshoe, among many others.
The slogan was: "It's only weird if it doesn't work."
One could make the case that all of it is just plain weird. But if Great Britain wins, look for every team that makes the 2018 FIFA World Cup to commission a Pringles can "lucky" boot.