Pluto and the World Cup

1930 was a watershed year for Capricorn Research’s favourite subjects, astrology and football. Pluto was discovered and the first World Cup was held. Most people would claim this to be pure coincidence, but readers of these pages will understand that unrelated things that appear to coincide do not do so by chance but have important symbolic connection. Right from the start, Pluto was causing havoc in square to Uranus being responsible for the Great Depression but still the planet took time off to watch the first ever World Cup match where France beat Mexico 4-1.

World Cup 1930 opener

See, Pluto is right there, closely conjunct the Sun sitting in the director’s box, if they had them in those days. In the early days the World Cup was not treated as the most important happening on earth as it is now. England were particularly dismissive, refusing to participate until the 1950 tournament in Brazil when they got paid back for their arrogance with a humiliating defeat to the USA team. Pluto also shunned the tournament until 1950, having more important things to do like changing signs and causing the Second World War, but unlike England won it at the first attempt.

Brazil were beaten in the final by Uruguay. Pluto, of course, loves to dispense shocks and the notion of  the overwhelming and arrogant favourites being humiliated on their own turf by a tiny nation next door was just to good to resist.

Regular readers of this blog will know that as no birth data is available for the teams themselves, we have to be content with noon charts only for the managers. This applies to the World Cup but there’s also something about the team captain’s chart that can work as well. In 1950 Pluto was square Uruguay manager Juan Lopez Fontana’s Mars.  The Uruguay captain was Obdulio Varela, commonly regarded as one of the greatest classic holding midfielders, adept in defence and, appropriately for a Scorpio Moon, renowned for his tenacity and leadership. Pluto was square Obdulio’s Moon in 1950.

Out of the 16 World Cups from 1950 onwards Pluto has made major aspects to the manager and / or captain’s chart in 12 of them. Three of the others were benefitting from Jupiter transits. 1954 was a Jupiter year for German manager Sepp Herberger and captain Fritz Walter, but the two planets shared the honours in the 1958 World Cup in Sweden. Pluto was square to Brazil manager Vicente Feola’s Sun but this tournament was known for the emergence of the greatest player ever, Pele and fittingly Jupiter was conjunct his Scorpio Sun at the time. For Brazil’s 1962 manager, Mauro Ramos the World Cup was the turning point of his life as Pluto was conjunct his Sun.

Everyone knows that the greatest ever tournament was 1966, but this time Jupiter and Pluto were battling against each other. England captain Bobby Moore lifted the trophy with Jupiter square his Sun. The West German manager, Helmut Schon, had Pluto conjunct his Sun and if the 11 year old Capricorn Research had known about astrology at the time it would have been tempting to bet some pocket money on a German victory. Pluto has enormous power and influence over life and death but not it seems over Russian linesmen.

Actually, everyone knows that the greatest ever tournament was in 1970 and both Brazil manager Mario Zagallo and captain Carlos Alberto had Pluto square their Moon at the time. By 1974, West German manager Schon had already had his near miss Pluto experience but this tournament was one for the imperious captain Franz Beckenbauer who had the planet square his Mars.

Argentina’s first in 1978 was for chain smoking manager Cesar Luis Menotti who had Pluto opposite his Moon, his captain Daniel Passarella had Jupiter square his, an aspect that was repeated in 1982 for Italy goalkeeper captain, Dino Zoff.

The tournament in 1986 was all about one man, Diego Maradona so naturally both planets were in agreement. Maradona is a Scorpio and Pluto conjunct a Scorpio Sun is without doubt the most powerful astrological transit known to man. Jupiter was conjunct his Moon as well. Although it was really not needed, Pluto was also square manager Carlos Bilardo’s Moon.

In 1990, the two planets were in agreement again as Jupiter was conjunct German captain Lothar Matthaus’ Mars but really this tournament belonged to one man as well, the only one to win it as captain and manager, Beckenbauer who had Pluto conjunct his Moon.

The 1994 final was so boring that both Pluto and Jupiter refused to turn up so the malefic Saturn took the opportunity to create some mischief and suffering. The only final ever to finish 0-0 ended with Roberto Baggio, the player of the tournament, blazing the deciding penalty over the bar. Saturn was square his Moon at the time.

No one expected Aime Jacquet to be a World Cup winning manager but they would have done if they’d seen that Pluto was conjunct his Sun in 1998. Brazil’s Phil Scolari had it conjunct his Mars in 2002 and his captain Cafu had it opposite his Sun. Marcelo Lippi, the Italian manager had Jupiter, Saturn and Neptune aspecting his Mars in 2006 and the captain Fabio Cannavaro had Pluto square his Moon.

Vicente Del Bosch, for the current holders Spain, had Pluto just past his Sun in 2010, but of course the real turning point for both him and Spain was the European Championship win in 2008 when Pluto was in exact conjunction.

So what will 2014 have in store ?  Of course with all serious astrological predictions Capricorn Research is badly hampered by the absence of birth times making transits to the Moon impossible to time, but its the World Cup and any tournament is more fun when you have an interest so….

The first thing to point out is there are no stand out Pluto transits amongst all the major players so we are not going to see one man stamp his identity on this tournament in the same way that Maradona did in 1986 or even managers Beckenbauer in 1990 or Jacquet in 1998.

The World Cup has been held on American soil seven times and each time its had a South American winner, Brazil in 62, 70 and 94, Argentina in 78 and 86 and Uruguay in 30 and 50 so we have to look at these three first.

Lionel Messi has had a difficult year with injuries. Neptune has been square his Ascendant since he hobbled out of the Champions League game with PSG and it will continue through 2014. He does have Jupiter conjunct Mars in early June but by the time we get to the business end of things this transit will have passed. Argentina’s manager Alejandro Sabella also has Neptune around this year in conjunction with his Moon, so it looks like Messi’s World Cup dream will remain precisely that.

Messi’s best chance of taking the tournament by storm was in 2010 when he had Pluto opposite his Sun as he was  blitzing all comers for Barcelona and he twice won the Ballon D’or under this transit. Pluto of course was conjunct Maradona’s Sun in 1986 when he took on and beat the rest of the world single handed. This time Diego was manager and many believe that if it wasn’t for his tactical naivety and belief in his own god like status, Argentina might have taken the trophy. Some even felt that a bizarre footballing conspiracy was at work suggesting that Diego deliberately undermined their chances to stop Messi taking his coveted crown.

Neptune was square Maradona’s Ascendant in 2010 and operating in deception rather than inspiration mode. The great man came out of it with his reputation as a manager in tatters but no-one seriously believed in that anyway. His place as footballing god was maintained and Messi’s chance on the World Cup stage was gone. In an oddly parallel arrangement that astrology often serves up, Messi has exactly the same transit for 2014 as Maradona had for 2010.

Messi’s club mate Neymar is also dealing with the slippery Neptune at the moment. It’s been conjunct his Moon since his move to Barcelona and this is an interesting aspect. It can bring inspiration and deification but its not something you’d want to rely on. Neymar has also had Jupiter opposite his Mars during October and November this year as he’s taken full advantage of Messi’s injuries to establish himself as one of Barca’s superstars. This transit is around in early June but it’s gone by the time the tournament starts. Unfortunately for Brazil, Saturn is square Neymar’s Sun throughout July.

Brazil, of course are hosts and favourites, but as in 1950, this brings serious expectations. Brazil picked their manager, Phil Scolari, particularly because he was the most likely candidate to be able to stand the pressure having done it before. In 2002, Scolari took over Brazil after they endured their worst qualifying campaign ever, losing 6 matches and finishing 3rd, the only time they had not emerged as leaders of their group. They still won the trophy however with a record 7 wins and Scolari was hailed as a magician. He did have Pluto conjunct his Mars and Uranus conjunct his Moon so a transformation on that scale was predictable.

This time round Brazil, as hosts did not have to qualify so they have been globetrotting to play lucrative friendlies. They were expected to win the 2012 Olympics but lost to Mexico in the final and following some bad results in friendlies manager Mario Menezes was sacked and Scolari made his return.

The lack of competitive matches had taken it’s toll, not least on their worst ever world ranking of 22nd. Scolari made an immediate impact winning the 2013 Confederations Cup with a 3-0 demolition of World Champions Spain, helped along by Pluto, Uranus and Jupiter all being conjunct the manager’s Venus. Unfortunately for Scolari, this has propelled expectations into the stratosphere, the real thing is next summer and the restraining Saturn is conjunct his Sun then.

Brazil’s captain, Thiago Silva has Saturn square his Moon so it seems that all of them will burdened by the whole thing. They might have won it 5 times, but never in their own country.

With Pluto and Uranus stimulating his Mars, Luis Suarez is in the kind of form that could win the World Cup. Pluto is still square Mars in July and Jupiter is approaching an opposition to his Sun. Pluto and Uranus on Mars is an extremely unpredictable and volatile combination however and this current transit began with the biting of Branislav Ivanovich.

Uruguay finished 5th in a South American qualifying group without Brazil, but they scraped through the playoffs last time and reached the semi finals in South Africa. Oscar Tabarez, the Uruguay manager had Neptune conjunct his Mars in 2010. Neptune showed both its faces during Uruguay’s run with vision and inventiveness coupled with the deception of Suarez goal line handball which saw him sent off but celebrating Ghana’s Asamoah Gyan missing the resultant penalty.

Neptune was still conjunct Tabarez’ Mars for the even more stunning Copa America victory in 2011 and had help from Jupiter in square to his Moon and Venus. Interestingly Jupiter aspects the same planets again in 2014, conjunct his Moon and opposite Venus.

In 2010, captain Diego Lugano had Pluto and Uranus aspecting his Venus. Venus is not normally a major planet for footballers as it has more to do with attraction and appearance than action but Lugano was voted the best captain of the World Cup and attracted a move from Fenerbahce to the Paris St Germain all stars on the back of this transit. It didn’t last however and Saturn conjunct his Sun in 2013 has switched off the bright lights of Venusian Paris and he’s now in a relegation battle with West Brom.

Surely Uruguay can’t do a repeat of 1950 and beat the favourites on their own soil ? Well Lugano has no transits at all for 2014, good or bad. That won’t necessarily harm their chances as he might not get in the team.

Cristiano Ronaldo has taken Messi’s place at the moment, appearing to score hat tricks in every game for Real. Portugal are another matter and for a one man team to win we’d need a Pluto / Sun transit. Ronaldo will have to put up with Saturn square his Sun and the Portugal manager Paulo Bento has Neptune square his Mars. Portugal are in the toughest group with Germany, USA and Ghana and they might well struggle to get out of it.


Holland would look a good bet if the tournament was held a month earlier as both manager Louis Van Gaal and captain Robin Van Persie have Jupiter in aspect to their Mars in early June. Jupiter transits don’t last long though but Van Gaal has the giant planet square his Moon sometime around the tournament. This may well have more to say about the announcement of his next job, one final contract for the big man as his Gus Hiddink takes over the Dutch team after the World Cup.

Germany are always there or thereabouts and both manager Joachim Loew and captain Philipp Lahm have Jupiter aspecting their Moon. They may have to settle for thereabouts this time as Lahm also has Saturn conjunct his Sun.

England’s Roy Hodgson also has Saturn in aspect to his Sun so low expectations would be about right. Hodgson had the same aspect during the final qualifiers but was spared a horrible end by Andros Townsend who had Jupiter on his Sun. Saturn assured Hodgson didn’t get any credit due to the space monkey furore. Townsend does have Jupiter back again for the World Cup so he will have a great tournament but this won’t take England very far as captain Steven Gerrard has no transits at all so his international career will end with a whimper rather than a bang.

The USA are a bit of an unknown quantity and have had some decent results in friendlies against the big boys. Captain Tim Howard has Neptune conjunct his Mars which could prove to be a dream transit with an inspired performance or a nightmare one doing what used to be called a Gary Sprake. Manager Jurgen Klinsmann has Jupiter aspecting his Sun and Moon but the main one doesn’t kick in until August. Maybe he’ll get the Spurs job after it proves to much for Tim Sherwood, unless Louis Van Gaal has already claimed it in June.

A number of pundits have chosen Belgium and Colombia as surprise packages which makes sense given that both managers, Marc Wilmots and Jose Pekerman have that master of the unexpected, Uranus conjunct their Venus. Pekerman also has Jupiter around his Moon and his captain Mario Yepes has it opposite his Sun but that’s before the real business starts and Neptune square his Sun should stop him lifting any trophies. The same goes for Belgium’s Vincent Kompany despite Jupiter being around his Moon.

One very interesting package is Switzerland. Many people in England have questioned their top seeding status but the hard fact to swallow is they are better than us. They certainly have a more accomplished manager in the much travelled Ottmar Hitzfeld and he also has Jupiter opposite his Sun and Mars so his reputation should be boosted even more this summer. Gokhan Inler, the Swiss captain has nothing however.

Much fancied outsiders Chile mirror Switzerland in that their captain, Claudio Bravo has Jupiter square his Sun and Moon but the manager, Jorge Sampaoli has nothing.

What about Italy ? An Italian goalkeeper captain has won it before and Gianliuigi Buffon does have Jupiter conjunct his Mars but any chance of him ending his international career at the very top is ruined by manager Cesare Pirandelli’s Neptune transits to his Moon and Mars.

Both French manager Didier Deschamps and captain Hugo Lloris have Jupiter / Moon transits but the problem with this one is knowing the timing of it for a noon chart.  Deschamps also has Jupiter square his Sun for the early stages so you would expect both France and Switzerland to get out of their group.

The same applies to Russia as Fabio Capello has Jupiter conjunct his Venus so he will certainly enjoy the trip more than last time. His captain Sergei Ignashevich has it conjunct his Sun but that’s finished by the time the latter stages come round.

Didier Drogba should get one last hurrah as Jupiter aspects his Moon and Mars but again this could be over once the tournament actually gets going and Sabri Lamouche, the Ivory Coast manager has Saturn on his Sun so despite their many stars the may well struggle to get out of their group particularly as they share it with Colombia and Japan.

Japanese captain Makoto Hasebe has Jupiter aspecting both Sun and Moon and their star man Kelsuke Honda has it opposite Mars and conjunct Venus. Manager Alberto Zaccheroni has Jupiter contacting his Venus and Moon so a tendency to underachieve in tournaments actually outside of Japan should be consigned to the past. The one transit that Capricorn Research was hoping for to identify the 2014 winners would be a Pluto / Sun contact. Zaccheroni is the only manager to have one so 2014 will be the major turning point in his life. Japan as winners ? Astrologers might say so but only if they know nothing about football.

Nigeria might do something as manager Stephen Keshi has Jupiter opposite his Sun and Mars but only if he drops captain Vincent Enyeama who is plagued by both Saturn and Neptune. Neptune is also opposite Australia manager Ange Postecoglou’s Sun so he’ll arrive in Brazil only to find it was all a dream anyway.

Bosnia’s manager Safet Susic and captain Emir Spahic both have Jupiter transits in mid June that might just last long enough to see them through the group stage but Saturn conjunct Spahic’s Moon should stop them going any further.

Interestingly there are 3 captains with Pluto / Sun contacts, Majid Bougherra of Algeria, Lee Chung-Yon of South Korea and Javad Nekounam of Iran. Algeria and South Korea are in the same group but Korean manager Hong Myung-Bo has Saturn conjunct his Mars and square his Sun so they’ve got no chance.  Algeria manager Vahid Halilhodzic has Jupiter conjunct his Mars so if there is going to be a surprise package it could well be this one.

Carlos Queiroz is on his 5th international manager’s job in charge of Iran and his nomadic existence is exactly what would be expected form someone with a Pisces Sun opposite the Moon. Pisceans don’t tend to settle anywhere for long but Iran is a long way from his peak at Real Madrid in 2003 – 4 when Jupiter was on his Sun and Moon. You would think that just being at a World Cup would be enough to explain Pluto on Nekounam’s Sun but Queiroz has Uranus conjunct his Mars so this could be a real surprise package.  On the other hand we are talking about Iran and manager and captain could well disappear without trace after an ignominious early exit.

Cameroon, Mexico, Croatia, Greece, Costa Rica, Ecuador and Honduras’ chances are all seriously hampered by their manager or captain’s Saturn transits. Any astrological insights into Ghana’s prospects are hampered by the fact that there are no birth details at all for manager Stephen Appiah.

Readers will notice that there’s been no mention of the holders, Spain. Iker Casillas lifted the World Cup along with the last two European Championships and has been widely regarded as one of the best goalkeepers of all time with over 150 caps for Spain. He made his debut at the age of 19, absurdly young for an international keeper. Casillas has had his fair share of trouble recently as both Jose Mourinho and Carlo Ancelotti have kept him on the bench at Real Madrid. Casillas’ troubles look set to continue as Saturn is opposite his Mars for much of 2014. The following year sees the malefic planet opposite his Sun and in 2016 conjunct his Moon so he might have started young for a keeper but may also end up retiring relatively early.

Speaking of retirement what about all conquering Spain manager Vicente del Bosque ? He’s just turned 63 and might be tempted to call it a day after this World Cup. Del Bosque has always been an unlikely figure for such an incredibly successful manager. Capricorns are often understated and not keen to boast about their achievements and del Bosque has both the Sun and Venus in the sign in opposition to Uranus so he is a serious dark horse. Pluto has given him his time at the summit of Capricorn’s mountain since it first reached his Sun in 2008 winning Spain the Euros after 44 years of hurt. Pluto is just moving away from his Venus in 2014 so whether there’s enough power left to win one more is unclear.

So who will win ? Capricorn Research has no idea. Pluto has had a good look round at the candidates and doesn’t fancy any of them. In the late 80s, when the planet was in its own sign Scorpio, it handed the goodies to its favourite Sun and Moon, Maradona and Beckenbauer. This year there just aren’t any managers with the Sun in mid Capricorn.

So what to do in the absence of Pluto ?  Since 1930, 18 different managers have won the World Cup and not surprisingly Scorpio is the most common Sun sign with 4. The staggering statistic, however is that 7 have the Moon in Aquarius, the expected average being 1.5 per sign. Only one manager has the Sun in Scorpio and the Moon in Aquarius, Brazil’s Phil Scolari.

Most people go for Brazil, but no manager has ever won it with a major  Saturn transit. Scolari would have to defy all the odds by making a Faustian pact with Saturn’s Grim Reaper but he is a Scorpio so the contract’s probably signed  already. If he did managed to pull it off, the name Big Phil would have to be strongly revised upwards.

But if Luis Suarez finishes his Pluto / Mars transit with the trophy after simultaneously nutmegging and eating all of his opponents, Capricorn Research wouldn’t be the least surprised.


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