LUSAIL, Qatar – Witchcraft and sport have a long and shared history dating to antiquity. Spells were cast by athletes to improve performance, by spectators rooting for their teams, and even the sports bookies hoping to make a buck. The World Cup is no different.
As the FIFA World Championship started three weeks ago, The West Australian newspaper opened its Saturday edition with an image of a voodoo doll and the headline “HELP PIN DOWN MESSI.” Their subtitle was “Yes, … we’ve resorted to a voodoo doll to help our socceroos beat the greatest of all time.”
The Western Australian’s (we assume) tongue-in-cheek story foreshadowed not only Argentina’s arrival to the World Cup finals, but also a rise in the reported use of Witchcraft to secure their victory via social media and a Whatsapp group.
Earlier this week, there was a concerted attempt to freeze Croatia, with images from Brujas in Argentina flooding social media with images of individuals frozen in ice.
The Twitter user Sassenach took it one step further with a printed list of members of the Croatian team placed in snow. “To the Freeeeeezeeeerrrrr Croatia,” they wrote.
— Sassenach 💮 (@hrPoppins) December 13, 2022
“I confess that I was one of the #brujasargentinas,” the user Elis wrote in one public Facebook post. “I spent the game curing the national team and I turned the bad on the Croatians. and I will do it again 🤘”
HijaDeLaTierra shared an image on Twitter of Soccer Witches at work:
— HijaDeLaTierra🌱 (@rochusbelenn) December 3, 2022
Other Witches focused on Lionel Messi, sending healing and strength to the Argentian team’s captain and star player. Messi says this is his last World Cup, and he has never won one. Many feared that Messi had been hexed.
Magalí Martínez told the New York Times that Messi was cursed. She said she went to Twitter to get help because “I knew I wouldn’t be able to cure him alone.” Her tweet was shared by thousands who joined in the spellwork.
Christians were also in the act. “Today more than ever I am certain that on Sunday Lionel Messi will lift the cup, because more than ever I believe that the evil eye done to him is broken,” said Apostle Ricardo Di Rocco, a Christian minister.
“We think of ourselves as agents that, from love, can take care, protect and sow happiness,” said Rocío Cabral Menna, 27, a Witch and high school teacher in Messi’s hometown, Rosario, who burns a bay leaf inscribed with her predicted score in a ceremony before each match. The players are competing on the field, but at home, she said, “the witches are taking care of them.”
Witches also warned against hexing Kylian Mbappé, the French team’s star and ultimate winner of the World Cup’s Golden Boot award for scoring three goals during the final match. Such actions, the Witches said, might backfire.
LaBrujinetaOK, of the Asociación de Brujas Argentinas (the Association of Argentine Witches), gave a play-by-play of the action and the magical responses to them. Today, as Argentina pulled ahead, LaBrujinetaOK kept the focus on supporting the team, and when France tied, focused on a play-by-play of magical actions.
The game, which had begun with Argentina holding a 2-0 lead, tightened to a 2-2 tie in the second half after two goals from Mbappé. LaBrujinetaOK responded, counseling Witches to tie handkerchiefs and bandanas into a knot. The response was swift:
MAS VALE QUE FUNCIONE pic.twitter.com/UG9mfybenG
— CAMPEON MUNDIAL🇦🇷🇦🇷🇦🇷 (@silmustdie) December 18, 2022
“The energies are very scattered, feel confident,” LaBrujinetaOK tweeted.
It seemed to have worked: moments later, Argentina scored, bringing the game to 3-2. But just a few moments later, so did France. At a score of 3-3, the game moved into a nail-biting round of extra time.
As play continued, the players themselves from the field appeared to make reference to the profession of the other team’s parents – the words were obvious to even casual lip readers.
More Witchcraft followed. “Remind yourself of gratitude three times,” LaBrujinetaOK tweeted. The game went into penalty kicks that would decide the final champion. In those harrowing final moment, the Argentinian Witch updated her profile picture:
— LaBrujinetaOK (@LaBrujinetaOk) December 18, 2022
It may be asked: does having a passionate fan base, much less one made up of Witches, really make a difference to a team’s success? Does the side with the loudest cheers go on to win more games? And if the crowd’s love for a team is backed up with magic, will that really lead them to glory on the field? Some may well be skeptical of these claims.
To them, all we at TWH can say is this: Argentina has won the World Cup.