All players in every game go through every type of ritualistic behavior that they think will make Lady Luck smile on them. The association between ritualistic behavior and a desired outcome is what BF Skinner studied in great detail and forms the basis of superstition, and even possibly religion.
In the US, we see this everytime a baseball player steps out on the plate, an sequence of movements elaborately pantomimed, where he will touch his helmet a certain number of times, whack his boot with the bat, and trace the cross before settling down to his stance. Watch Sammy Sosa, Barry Bonds, and Jason Giambi. Even pitchers and managers have their behaviors down pat before a pitch or before a call.
These are some of the tamer rituals and soccer has plenty of them too. But among the more bizarre rituals was that of Sergio Goycochea, the Argentinian goalkeeper in the 1990 World Cup. Before any penalty kick taken he would hitch up his shorts and urinate on the grass. In full view of thousands of specators and the TV media.
And it worked as Argentina beat Italy in the 1990 WC semi-fianls. Goycochea made spectacular saves of Robert Donadoni’s and Aldo Serena’s penalty kicks that took Argentina to the final against W. Germany. And in the finals he almost kept out Andreas Brehme’s penalty in the 85th minute that gave the Germans their title.
Maybe it was the sight of Goycochea peeing on the grass that threw of Donadoni and Serena. But it worked.
As for Goycochea nowadays, he partners good friend Diego Maradona’s popular TV programme La Noche Del Diez on Argentina’s channel 13. Hopefully he uses the loo before his TV appearances.