Viva Espana, says ‘psychic’ octopus

2010-07-09 11:27

Spain will win the 2010 Soccer World Cup for the first time in their history on Sunday, according to Paul, the “psychic” octopus with a near-perfect prediction record.

The eight-legged oracle, who has become a World Cup sensation by correctly predicting the outcome of Germany’s six games, quickly plumped for Spain today. The prediction was shown live on national German television.

Earlier, the two-year-old mollusc medium said that Germany, his country of residence, would defeat Uruguay in the third-place play-off game on tomorrow.

In the now familiar routine, two boxes were lowered into his tank, each containing a mussel and the flags of the two opposing teams.

The tentacled tipster went straight to the Spanish box, wrenched open the lid and gobbled the tasty morsel.

But the art of football predicting has become a dangerous job for the English-born clairvoyant cephalopod with some bitter German fans threatening to turn him into sushi after he predicted a semi-final defeat for the Mannschaft.

Paul’s home, an aquarium in western Germany, has received death-threat emails saying “we want Paul for the pan,” said entertainment supervisor Daniel Fey.

“Since yesterday our colleagues have kept a very close eye on Paul,” Fey added.

No less an authority than Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luiz Rodriguez Zapatero has called for octopus bodyguards.

“I am concerned for the octopus ... I am thinking of sending him a protective team,” joked Zapatero on Radio Cadena Ser.

Spanish Industry Minister Miguel Sebastian has called for the creature to be given an “immediate” free transfer to Spain to “ensure his protection”.

Stung by Paul’s “treachery” at picking Spain over Germany in the semi-final, some sections of the 350 000-strong crowd watching the game on giant screens in Berlin sang anti-octopus songs.

The honour of Paul’s mother was called into question, according to witnesses.

Today’s prediction is expected to be the last for Paul, who in octopus terms is a pensioner, at the grand old age of two-and-a-half.

Octopuses generally live a maximum of three years.

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