The World Cup has always attracted its share of magic realism–most notably during the last tournament, the spot-on predictions of Paul the Psychic Octopus. As the tournament reaches the semi-final stage now, one Brazilian witch doctor is taking matters into his own hands, casting a voodoo spell on their opponents, the German Team.
According to the Agence France-Presse, a man named Helio Sillman who is described as a “black magic enthusiast” has bound the legs of acclaimed German strikers Thomas Müller and Miroslav Klose through their voodoo dolls, and is claiming credit for the previous success of the Brazilian team.
“I’ll take their top player and bind his legs so he can’t run on the pitch,” he claimed, though not announcing which player he had cursed. Given that Müller is the second-highest goal scorer in the tournament, he seems the likeliest target–at the very least, German tabloid Bild thinks so. Sillman performs a spell before every Brazilian game and keeps a voodoo doll of every team’s most impressive player in the box.
Sillman claims that he has a perfect curse record, and points to the Brazilian team’s victories and consistent presence in the tournament at this late stage as proof. Some are dubious, however, as the last player Sillman cursed, James Rodríguez of Colombia, became the highest scoring striker of the tournament after Sillman’s curse, despite Colombia losing to Brazil. Others note that, in addition to Sillman’s curse apparently placing Colombia at the top of the race for the Golden Boot, the curse also took Brazil’s most dangerous player, Neymar, out of the World Cup with a broken vertebrae.
Sillman is neither the first nor last to use the forces of dark magic to attempt to alter the results of a soccer match. Just one month ago, a witch doctor from Ghana took full credit for taking Cristiano Ronaldo, the acclaimed Portuguese player, out of the World Cup as rumors swirled that Ronaldo was too injured to perform. Nana Kwaku Bonsam claimed to be using dogs to manufacture an evil spirit that would harm Ronaldo. “This injury can never be cured by any medic, they can never see what is causing the injury because it is spiritual.” Ronaldo eventually recovered and played in the World Cup, though his attempts to save his team did not manage to get Portugal out of the initial round-robin phase of the tournament.