Is football coming home | The Royal Mint

27 May 2010

Can the power of positive thinking overcome England’s Penalty ‘Jinx’?


As football fever reaches its peak, England fans are starting to sweat about the team’s traditional World Cup exit - the penalty shoot out.

In a survey of more than 3,000 supporters, nearly half believe the now infamous spot kick will once again send England crashing out of the competition, with 47% predicting players will suffer from penalty ‘jinx’ in South Africa.

To counteract this, 66% of fans will ‘touch wood’ before each game begins, 45% will sit through 90 minutes of football with their fingers crossed, while 13% will carry a lucky charm throughout the competition, in an attempt to positively influence the outcome of each England game from afar.

The research was commissioned by the Royal Mint to mark its first ever World Cup Medal giveaway. It found that a massive 79% of the population become more superstitious during the World Cup, while 15% believe lucky rituals can affect the final score.

Commenting on the findings Dr Victor Thompson, a Clinical Sports Psychologist says: "It is so important for the England team to know fans are behind them and believe in the squad. England fans are famous for their support and you can’t underestimate the power of this positive thinking and belief. If we all get behind the squad and show our support for the team, this really could generate luck in itself and maximize the chance of England to glory. So much of sporting success depends on positive thinking, the support of fans and good luck on the day."

England legend Sir Geoff Hurst, who’s supporting the Royal Mint’s giveaway, added: "Winning a football match isn’t just about the players on the pitch. Knowing you’ve got the support of the nation behind you is a huge motivator, and a bit of good luck thrown in doesn’t hurt."

In fact it was Sir Geoff’s famous hatrick in 1966 that was, not surprisingly, voted the luckiest moment in England’s World Cup history (54%), followed by David Beckham’s free kick against Greece in the 2001 qualifying rounds (28%).

Based on England’s past performances it’s likely the players will benefit from the support of the nation the most during the quarter finals. In four of the last six World Cups the team has crashed out at this stage. So, to harness the collective power of the nation’s positive thinking, the Royal mint has 150,000 free World Cup medals ready to give away now. Fans can claim theirs (in time for the quarter finals) at


For all media enquiries, contact the Royal Mint Press Office on 020 7853 2390.


The research was conducted by Onepoll. If you require more information please don’t hesitate to contact the Royal Mint Press office on 020 7853 2390.

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