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France’s bizarre superstitious pre-match routine could be key to them winning the World Cup

Laurent Blanc used to kiss Fabian Barthez's head in 1998 and the 2018 generation have their own lucky charm

Some people don’t walk under ladders, some think it’s bad luck if a black cat crosses your path.

And footballers are probably more superstitious than most.

Kolo Toure famously always had to be the last player to enter the pitch, Johan Cruyff used to slap his keeper in the stomach before the game and then spit his chewing gum onto the opposition’s half and Gary Neville always had to wear the same aftershave for a game.


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Tie those laces in exactly the same way you did again Argentina

EPA
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Tie those laces in exactly the same way you did again Argentina

But France are taking that pre-match superstition to a new level with their lucky charm at this year’s World Cup.

And it’s all thanks to wonderkid Kylian Mbappe.

In another of those creepy similarities to the 1998 World Cup winning side, of which Laurent Blanc used to kiss Fabian Barthez’s bald before the game to ward off the bad juju, the 2018 generation have their own lucky Buddha.

Adil Rami and his glorious moustache

Reuters
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Adil Rami and his glorious moustache

Their lucky charm comes from the most unlikely of sources – Adil Rami’s gloriously defined throwback moustache.

Pamela Anderson’s boyfriend has a Captain Hook-style pointed lip beard and ever since Mbappe stroked it before Les Bleus’ impressive win over Argentina in the last-16 it has become a compulsory part of the pre-match routine.

Have some of that pal

Getty - Contributor
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Have some of that pal

According to French journalist Julien Laurens Dider Deschamps boys have now begun to stroke Rami’s thick facial hair in a bizarre new ritual.

But after putting aside Uruguay in the quarters and then dealing with possibly the best team in the tournament in Belgium in the semi-finals you cannot question whether it’s working or not.

Surely it will be the time a player has been the secret to a team’s World Cup success without actually playing a minute during the tournament?

“Maybe if I stroke it I might get into the team for the final”

AP:Associated Press
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“Maybe if I stroke it I might get into the team for the final”

Rami might not be playing for France, but he’s not doing badly these days.

Could bag himself a World Cup winners’ medal and when it’s all finished he will go back to his life with girlfriend Anderson.

Ah to be a footballer, eh?

With Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann both playing brilliant after getting some magic dust from Rami’s beard, you can bet goalless Olivier Grioud will want a turn next.