Friday the thirteenth

Admir MEHMEDI played in “Dynamo” at number 13. Photo of Paul KUBANOVA, “SE”

Perhaps someone will see a certain symbolism in the fact that the start of the second round of the championship of Ukraine falls on Friday the 13th – a day that superstitious people think it unlucky.

It opens with “miner”, and even that was lucky miners that “Feyenord” in the Champions League they take the evening of 1 November, but not in the previous night, as we celebrate Halloween…

About Friday, even though it was the day of the crucifixion of Christ, is still debatable. The mariners, say, not held in high esteem and even on Monday, when in the sea do not go. But the number “13” really is unlucky so many people. Not everyone, of course. The Chinese, for example, is not in favor four, the pronunciation of the character which is consonant with the word “death.” In many Chinese houses there, for example, the fourth and 14th floors.

They are not alone in this. Thirteenth floors are also something where not. For the 12-m immediately goes 14th.

And what about the players who in the old days had to be numbered from one to eleven – but then, when allowed replacement of the spare, the logic was to use the numbers following the 11? Individual situation with international tournaments where it is necessary to choose numbers in a row. Don’t want to give up the 13th, but then in the application you will have 23 and 22.

Probably not least because of this, some teams just handing out numbers alphabetically fixed with rare exceptions. Someone had bad luck with the 13th number, and, for example, Ossie Ardiles of the Argentina national team played with unity at the back. Sometimes the 13th got an inconspicuous player who had little chance to play.


Well at least not all the players are so superstitious, although part of the contempt for the superstition of this kind much more well-known 13th world champion Garry Kasparov, born just 13-th. The most famous, of course, Gerd müller, which is the 13th issue went to the world Cup in Mexico. After all, the famous “nine” belongs to the team captain Uwe Seeler.

Mueller prejudice suffered, therefore, to argue against the “devil’s dozen” did not. What? Became the best scorer of the tournament, nikolotov, though not 13, but a full ten.

Perhaps because of that, no one was surprised when, before the 2010 world Cup, the 13th number in the German national team got another Bavarian Muller – Thomas, who received it from Michael Ballack. However, the world champion was only four years later.

At the last European championship under the “unlucky” number of prominent players in addition to Mueller was not. Often he got the third goalkeeper. By the way, in Italy it is actually legal. We have the 13th was Vyacheslav Shevchuk, whose career, in fact, that ended, Champions of the Portuguese midfielder Danilo…


It is considered that in teams that were coached by Valeriy Lobanovskiy, 13-th number was not. Not so. Tried to avoid, but it does not always work. For example, in the USSR championship-1975 suddenly decided to assign each player a different number. Now it is in order, and then it was a novelty. Distributed as expected, and an experienced fan will easily remember then the numbering of the players, “Dynamo”.

A small hitch can only arise from “seven” – or beet Muntean. Now, “seven” belonged to Vladimir Fedorovich, while Leonid Iosifovich got “first substitute” 12-th number. And in matches of the European Cup, where players were numbered from 1 to 11, entitled to “seven” owned Munteanu, and the beet, if left in the field with the eldest of seven years a colleague, took what was left.

The seventh was only in the absence of Montana. And the 13-th number in the championship of the USSR was a defender Sergey Kuznetsov. The backup goalie got number 16 and 17…

Here is a list of spare Lobanovskiy do without 13 rooms usually cost. But only as long as the football Federation did not limit the choice of rooms to reserve. Then, of course, is not going anywhere – not to artificially shorten the bench.

Valery, like many other coaches of his time, was committed to the so-called Maritime traditions – like women on the ship. Back in the club bus, at the game – no way. However, after returning from the Middle East, he began to treat the issue easier.


There are signs, but there are just habits. Somehow, it seems that when a player says that it begins to wear cleats with a particular leg, it’s just a tribute to habit, ritual, already in the subconscious mind brought to perfection. Someone is baptized, leaving the field or leaving it, someone as hand lines or simply lawn.

Some do not change lucky underwear or a tie. Well, lucky jackets, pants or the famous “cock” Yury Semin has already become a byword. Rinat Dasaev, becoming the gate, put them in a little bag. Only after retiring, admitted that it was a Koran.

Goalkeepers is generally a separate article. As once said Vyacheslav Chanov, they are a rejected people. Where their foot steps, no grass grows, and companions turn their backs on them. And a stranger try to touch his gloves or stop to “talk” with barbells!

And remember essential French ritual at the 1998 world Cup when Laurent Blanc before the game kissing Fabien fakes out Barthez’s bald head? The final match Blanc was missing, but still able to come to the gate, and the ritual was carried out. France won!

There are good days, there are sad. For Pavel Yakovenko such a day was April 17. In 1988 he received the grass in Alma-ATA two months before the European championship, which in the end missed. In 1989 – again training injury. In 1990 only began to gain form again injury in the semi-finals of the USSR Cup against CSKA. Farewell to the world Cup in Italy…

A year this day has just sat at home, afraid to go out.

What am I? Yes, just the fact that I would like, remembering the start of today’s second round of the championship, then not to accompany the story with the words: “Well, he’s started on Friday the 13th…”

Eugene BELOZEROV, Sport-Express in Ukraine

Leave a comment

Confirm that you are not a bot - select a man with raised hand: