The Lioness superstitions ticked off before each World Cup match – including Millie Bright lifting up Sarina Wiegman and Alessio Russo jumping SEVEN times before going on the pitch
- The England squad has a collection of rituals that’s helped fire them to the final
- Read more: You can still get to the World Cup final! England fans snap up £2,000 last-minute flights to watch Lionesses’ bid for glory
The Lionesses will take on Spain in the World Cup Final on Sunday… but before their studs even touch the turf at Stadium Australia, there’s more than a few lucky rituals that squad members will have followed.
Among them is the apparent ritual of England coach Sarina Wiegman being lifted high by current captain Millie Bright after a victory… which has already happened.
On Wednesday night, shortly after the Lionesses had defeated Australia 3-1, defender Bright sought out the England manager to carry out the post-match tradition that’s been a lucky charm since the Euros.
This week, there’s even a TikTok meme dedicated to it, because Wiegman momentarily dodged Bright’s embrace to shake the hand of Australian goalkeeper Mackenzie Arnold.
The England star will be hoping she can lift both the trophy and her manager aloft come Sunday night.
Lifting the manager equals lifting the trophy? England fans have noticed that captain Millie Bright lifts the manager, Sarina Wiegman off the ground when the Lionesses win
The 29-year-old’s not the only Lioness with a ritual though; Alessia Russo, who’s scored two key goals for team this tournament, has frequently talked about her affiliation with the number seven.
She told Elle last year that she jumps seven times before starting a game, saying: ‘I jump seven times before kick-off. I don’t know where it came from, but it’s stuck.’
She’s previously told The Times: ‘Seven’s my lucky number. Mum and dad were married in July which is obviously the seventh. One of my brothers was born on the seventh. It was my grandad’s lucky number. It’s a Manchester United number! I actually have No 7 tattooed on me.’
The current captain pictured hoisting Wiegman up after victory against Nigeria. The tradition is thought to have started last summer during the Euros and has served the pair well
For Russo’s close friend and former Manchester United teammate Ella Toone, it’s using the same set of words.
She told Elle: ‘Before kick off I shout: “come on girls, straight in”, and then I run off.’
Elsewhere, shot-stopper Mary Earps, awarded Best FIFA Women’s Goalkeeper in the World for the last two years, has previously spoken about the rituals that she’s fond of to ensure she’s at her optimum in the England goal.
She told The Telegraph that a candlelit bath the night before a big game helps to calm her nerves.
She said: ‘I run a bath and watch reality TV. It calms me down.’
Lucky seven: Alessia Russo, who’s scored in the last two games, has a seven tattoo and jumps seven times before going on the pitch
Defender Jess Carter says she wears ‘skins’ – a base layer – under her shorts and would wear them under her top too had medical advisors told her not to.
She told England Football: ‘I used to always have to wear skins under my football top, even in the summer, but a doctor told me off for doing it so I stopped.
‘We were in France when it was ridiculously hot so I had to move away from that. I still wear those undershorts underneath my main shorts every single game though.’
And, during the Euros, which the England team won in 2022, there was even a whole team superstition.
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While staying at The Lensbury hotel in South West London last summer, the team didn’t pack their suitcases when leaving for a match – hoping that would mean they’d be returning to the hotel with another game in the pipeline.
Georgia Stanway told FourFourTwo magazine: ‘That was something we really enjoyed doing: not packing our suitcases, leaving our stuff exactly where it was.
‘It was never really spoken about, but for every matchday minus one, we would travel to a different hotel, and it became tradition to leave everything unpacked at our base hotel.
‘We had made the rooms our own and made it the Lionesses’ hotel, and there was always a bit of: ‘Are we taking our bags?’
‘But it became normal to leave them because we knew we were coming back. That meant we were coming back for the final.’
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