After the sad demise of Paul the Octopus (RIP, never forget), a number of different animals have been jostling to take his place as the world’s premier clairvoyant beast.
But how many of these fortune-telling creatures are the real thing? Can any of them live up to Paul, the Teuton cephalopod who scored a 100% hit rate at the 2010 World Cup, correctly predicting all of Germany’s results in South Africa as well as the final between Spain and the Netherlands?
Tragically Paul died in October 2010, leaving a big octet of boots to fill for the 2014 tournament in Brazil.
The Rio Report looked at some of the predicting animals doing the rounds this year, and how they are doing in the clairvoyant stakes.
The Psychic Puppy
A shadowy figure who doesn’t appear to have a name, and simply goes by the moniker ‘Psychic Puppy’, the Huffington Post’s predicting pooch is 0 for one so far, having foretold victory for England over Italy. She plumped for England again ahead of the big game against Uruguay on Thursday, via the time-honoured method of cloth sandwiches. The mutt also appears to have quite an active social media presence for a creature with no opposable thumbs.
Cabeção the turtle
Sticking with the aquatic theme that served Paul so well, Cabeção the Turtle predicts games by eating fish suspended below the flags of the respective nations. He seems to be sticking with Brazil games so far, and has a 50% hit rate, having correctly called the Selecao’s win over Croatia, but goofed by choosing Mexico to prevail in the second game.
Shaheen the camel
Shaheen, an Emirati camel, seems to be the closest to taking Paul’s title thus far, scoring a four out of five record via the simple method of touching one of two signs showing the respective flags of each country with his nose. He correctly called Italy beating England and the Netherlands trouncing Spain, but got Portugal v Germany wrong. But that’s okay – nobody can truly legislate for Pepe.
Pennywell the piglet
Pennywell has cast forth on three games so far, and started well by taking Brazil to overcome Croatia, but then his predictive powers tailed off after forecasting a win for Spain over Netherlands, then a victory for England versus Italy.
Star the pig
Apparently usually one to confine herself to Gloucester rugby matches (boasting a 70 per cent success rate, according to the Gloucester Citizen), Star has expanded into football for the World Cup, but it isn’t going well so far, having picked England to beat Italy by the foolproof method of eating from a marked food bowl. She went for England again over Uruguay and Costa Rica, meaning she’s either fiercely patriotic or just goes for the food bowl on her right. You decide on that one.
Flopsy the kangaroo
A charge of the irritatingly chipper and perky Bindi Irwin, daughter of sadly-deceased Australian bush loon Steve, Flopsy the ‘Predictaroo’ has been on impressive predicting form so far, getting four out of five correct at the time of writing, only erring on Germany v Portugal, much like Shaheen, which will surely lead to investigations of suspect betting patterns and collusion in the psychic animal community. Flopsy reckons Australia will beat the Dutch on Wednesday, so despite the strong start we’ll reserve judgement on her for now.
Nelly the elephant
Germany’s attempt to get back in the predicting animals game, the Hannover-based Nelly has strong pedigree having successfully predicted the outcomes of 2010 World Cup, Euro 2012 and the 2013 Champions League finals. Nelly is sticking with Germany games, and hasn’t started too well, having foretold a draw in their game with Portugal. If you’d like to make a note, she has predicted wins against both Ghana and the USA, but the bad start suggests you shouldn’t take betting tips from big Nelly.
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