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Having already qualified along with England, the Czech Republic’s match against their final group game opponents will not need to rely on any form of luck.
However, this will not stop one of their most important players carrying out his multitude of matchday rituals.
Before each match, West Ham and Czech Republic midfielder Tomas Soucek has a number of rituals. Heading to the right goal, the midfielder winks and then touches the crossbar. He explains he has done this since his days with Slavia Prague.
“I did it this way in Slavia with Ondra Kolář,” he said.
Not only this, he steps onto the pitch in a certain way and says he gains strength from emblems.
“I always step on the field with my right foot first, from the field with my left. I only step on the club emblem, which we have in the cabin on the ground, on the day of the match to give me strength, otherwise I avoid it,” Soucek explained.
“It’s such a ritual with my wife, we’ve been holding him together for a long time. He’s on the field with me because of that. The color of the ribbon changes according to the color of the jersey, so that the judges will allow me to do so.”
He admits himself it may be a little over the top.
“I’m just very superstitious, I think maybe too exaggerated,” he said.
Soucek has been the focus of media attention already this tournament after he had to explain comments which were in defence of the banned Ondrej Kudela.
Soucek’s former Slavia Prague teammate was given a 10-match UEFA ban after being found guilty of racially abusing Finland and Rangers midfielder Glen Kamara.
Slavia Prague’s Ondřej Kúdela banned for ten UEFA club and representative team competition matches for racist behaviour. Includes the one-match provisional suspension served in last week’s EL quarter-final v Arsenal. Glen Kamara banned for three games for assaulting a player.
— James Olley (@JamesOlley) April 14, 2021
Soucek conducted an interview in which he said he couldn’t imagine Kudela saying something racist.
Tomáš Souček on the Kúdela and Kamara incident:
“I stood behind Ondřej the whole time. No one has proved anything, yet everyone condemned him and he received a long ban. It is absurd. I know him so well and I can’t imagine him saying anything racist.” pic.twitter.com/QIJpkWJoCA
— Footy Accumulators (@FootyAccums) June 10, 2021
He later came out to clarify comments he made saying they were taken out of context.
My comments in a recent interview I did in the Czech Republic didn’t come across how I meant them, they were out of context and have been misunderstood. I am against racism in any form and am proud to play in a sport that is so diverse and inclusive.
— Tomáš Souček (@tomassoucek28) June 11, 2021
No further action has taken place.
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