July 10th, 2010 by Ravi Matah | Posted in News, Sports   No Comments »
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Pundit Octopus Paul, who has predicted the outcome of six World Cup matches with absolute accuracy, has a competitor now. Paul has predicted Spain to win the World Cup 2010 and Mani, the parrot, has picked up Holland as the winner. The great battle will be held in Johannesburg on Sunday. 

It was a telecast live on TV News Channels that two glass tanks bearing the Spanish flag and the Dutch flag were lowered in the tank and Octopus Paul took his tummy-full meal from the Spanish glass box, thereby indicating the winner of the Sunday encounter. 

Octopus Paul

This octopus, which has already attained a celebrity status, completely ignored the Dutch tank at the German Aquarium in Oberhausen and indicated his Sunday winner as  Spain, by quickly polishing off the food from their tank. 

Paul has been predicting results involving Germany throughout the tournament and had predicted Germany’s loss to Spain in the semi finals as well, much to the dismay of the German fans. Some of his fans had said that they would have him for dinner as he had predicted Spain instead of Germany as the winner on Sunday in the World’s most prestigious encounter. 

But Paul on Friday gave them a ray of hope as well as he predicted a German win in the battle for third place against Uruguay that is to be played on Saturday. Germany had also finished third in the previous World Cup tournament, which they had hosted in 2006. 

Being a celebrity, sometimes, has the wrong side of the coin as well. It has not taken him long to become the ‘villain de piece’ as the Germans came up second best against Spain in his prediction. 

Having predicted Spain’s victory,  he has now got a new fan following among the Spaniards and the Spanish Prime Minister has even offered ‘state protection’ to him. However, adequate security has been provided to him at the aquarium itself. 

Tony LaCasse, a spokesman for the New England Aquarium. “Paul is running a remarkable series of picks, but I honestly doubt that he has extrasensory abilities. He has a run that many gamblers will only ever dream of.” 

Paul has been relatively consistent, plopping himself over the German box in his first few predictions. But he drew cries of despair from assembled watchers before the semifinal round, when he lingered over the box for the German flag before opting for the Spanish flag instead. Spain won the match 1-0. 

For the final game of the World Cup, Paul has picked Spain, again, to win against the Netherlands. 

“They learn to retrieve food from the Plexiglas boxes which have different lid arrangements”, said LaCasse said that at the New England Aquarium. 

Still there are lots of unanswered questions about how Paul predicts the winning team? And what about the times that he didn’t pick the German flag? 

Part of their learning process, is that “once in a while, they might choose something else. 

Then what about the red and yellow in the German and Spanish flags that Paul has been consistently attracted to? There’s no truth in that either, experts say. While octopi have excellent eyesight, they’re colorblind. 

Henley, the Smithsonian Zoo animal keeper, said that fans will have to wait until Sunday to see whether the octopus will be able to prove to the world his powers. 

One punter was kicking him for not paying attention to Paul. A man who staked a record €500,000 ($629,430) on Germany winning last night lost his wager — the largest World Cup bet ever, according to William Hill. 

Has he used this “psychic ability” before? Yes, he was called on during the European football Championships in 2008 but only managed an 80 percent success rate in predicting Germany’s results. 

According to media reports, the slippery soothsayer has received death threats from disgruntled Argentina fans angry at their team’s comprehensive 4-0 thrashing at the hands of Germany. 

Celebrity Spanish chef José Andrés even promised asylum to Paul if the Spanish beat Germany in their semi-final clash. “If Spain wins octopus is off of all my menus!” he declared. 

Can an octopus really be psychic? Are they intelligent creatures? 

Either way, he still has to pass the real test both on Saturday as well as Sunday to keep an impeccable record of his predictions.

Ravi Matah.

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