8 Of The Weirdest World Cup Facts Known To Us

Hair cuts, Feng Shui, star signs, goats. Here are a few World Cup stories that are strange yet true!

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1. Top Starcraft players were called in to the dressing room to motivate the South Korean national team in 2002

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When the national football team made it through to the semi-finals of the World Cup in 2002, members of the top Starcraft team were called in to the dressing room to help motivate the players.

2. An Argentine player was not included in the World Cup 1998 squad because he didn't cut his hair

Fernando Redondo, was not selected to be part of the World Cup squad over his long locks of hair

Passarella had banned long hair, earrings and homosexuals in his squad, leading to disputes with several players. Redondo refused Passarella's demand to cut his hair and was left out of the national team.

Fernando Redondo's flowing locks hit the headlines when the former Real Madrid man claimed that the 1978 World Cup winning captain would not pick him because of his refusal to cut his hair.

3. Argentina's goalkeeper in 1990 had a habit of urinating on the pitch before every penalty shoot out

Before every penalty shoot-out, Goycochea would urinate on the pitch to bring himself good luck.

The Argentina goalkeeper had the odd habit of urinating on the pitch before facing a penalty. He did this once before saving a penalty and kept up the tradition for the rest of his career. "It was my lucky charm and I went before every shoot out," he said. "I was very subtle, nobody complained."

Goycochea told The Guardian, “You know, by the rules of the game, until the match finishes you cannot abandon the field. And if you have any necessary human urges, you have to go on the field. So that is what happened against Yugoslavia (in the 1990 World Cup quarter-finals). At the end of the game I really had to go so I had no choice. But we won, so then when the semi-final against Italy went to penalties I did it again - and it worked! So from that moment on I did it before every shoot-out."

4. The France World Cup squad of 2006 was selected based on their star signs

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The French coach, probably uniquely, and definitely bizarrely, admits that his team selection is influenced by astrology.

France coach Raymond Domenech has a penchant for astrology and sees Scorpio as a negative aspect when he picks his side.

Domenech also said he believed Leos made bad defenders, adding, "When I have got a Leo in defence, I've always got my gun ready. I know he's going to want to show off at one moment or another and cost us."

5. Mexico's coach depended on Feng Shui to help his team selection in 2006

Ricardo LaVolpe is meticulous about his metaphysics, fanatical about his feng shui. He wears a dragon tie because he was born on Feb. 6, 1952 – the year of the water dragon in the Chinese zodiac.

La Volpe has been known to carry a type of Luopan, or feng shui compass with rings of Chinese characters, to determine everything from avoiding negative energy spots in a room to, some say, choosing his World Cup roster.

There are stories of him demanding the players walk back on the field at halftime and exit again because their previous exit was out of balance with nature.

6. A Brazilian Double World Cup Winner lost his virginity. To a goat.

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Garrincha is regarded by many as the best dribbler in football history. In 1999, he came seventh in the FIFA Player of the Century grand jury vote. He is a member of the World Team of the 20th Century, and was inducted into the Brazilian Football Hall of Fame.

In Ruy Castro’s book, “The Triumph and Tragedy of Brazil's Forgotten Footballing Hero”, it’s claimed that a 12 year old Garrincha lost his virginity to a goat. Alegedly, he would rather have had a prostitute but there were none in Pua Grande at the time.

Garrincha had other significant affairs, including one with showgirl Angelita Martinez, and he is known to have fathered at least 14 children.
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He has been in some notable car accidents too – one where he drunkenly ran over his own father and another where he tail-ended a truck, a crash which killed his mother-in-law on impact.

7. Zaire's players were threatened by their President that they cannot return if they lose 4-0 or worse to Brazil

After losing 9-0 to Yugoslavia in the 1974 finals, Zaire players were threatened by President Mobutu’s guards and told that they could not return home if they lost to Brazil by a score of 4-0 or worse. Luckily, they kept it to 3-0.

"President Mobutu sent his presidential guards to threaten us. They closed the hotel to all journalists and said that if we lost 4-0 to Brazil, none of us would be able to return home.”

3 goals down with 5 minutes to go, Mwepu and his teammates were looking to hold on to this scoreline and waste time however they could. “I panicked and kicked the ball away before he (Rivelino) could take it,” admitted the full back.
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8. An Octupus and a Malaysian-born Parakeet helped to predict matches in the World Cup in 2010

Mani the parakeet (hatched 1997), also called Mani the parrot, is a Malaysian-born Rose-ringed Parakeet who resides in Singapore.

Mani became a celebrity in Singapore, and later internationally, when he picked the correct winners for all of the 2010 FIFA World Cup quarter-final ties, as well as the Spain-Germany semi-final. However, Mani failed to predict the Spain – Netherlands final by choosing Netherlands as the winner of the 2010 World Cup.
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Paul the Octopus was a common octopus living in a tank at a Sea Life Centre in Oberhausen, Germany, who was used as an animal oracle to predict the results of football matches.

Paul's accurate choices for the 2010 World Cup, endowed him with celebrity status. Paul predicted the winners of each of the seven 2010 FIFA World Cup matches that the German team played, against Australia, Serbia, Ghana, England, Argentina, Spain, and Uruguay.

He predicted a win for Spain against the Netherlands in the World Cup final on 11 July by eating the mussel in the box with the Spanish flag on it.
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