England 2018 World Cup bid team hires Octopus Paul
London: The octopus that grabbed fame by predicting correctly the result of each of Germany`s matches at this year`s World Cup has switched allegiance to England.
Paul has been appointed as an ambassador to England`s bid to host the 2018 World Cup.
Germany beat England 4-1 in the second round of the World Cup in the most recent installment of the nations` ongoing football rivalry, but the switch is a natural one for Paul.
Although he became famous by calling Germany`s results and the Spain-Netherlands final from an aquarium in Oberhausen, Germany, Paul is English born.
He hatched at Weymouth Sea Life Center on England`s south coast in 2008.
“Paul has spent the last two years of his life in Germany but he is definitely a proud Englishman,`` Weymouth Sea Life Center manager Nicola Hamilton said.
“We have had a number of football approaches from around the world but Paul was only ever going to choose his homeland.”
With his eight tentacles, Paul is more adept at shaking hands than sweet-talking FIFA`s 24-man executive committee which will vote in December on which nation gets to host the tournament.
But his role is simply to bring extra publicity to a country competing with the United States, Russia and joint bids by Belgium Netherlands and Spain-Portugal.
“Paul the Octopus is undoubtedly one of the biggest names in football,” former England winger John Barnes said. “Huge numbers of people will follow Paul`s lead and back the bid.”
Paul`s World Cup success garnered huge attention, with footage of him making predictions by choosing which of two mussels to devour appearing on television worldwide. Paul made his choice by opening the lid of one of two clear plastic boxes, each bearing the flag of one of the teams and containing a mussel.
Imitators sprang up all over the world, including Mani the parakeet in Singapore and Lorenzo the parrot in Hannover, Germany.
The latest is a saltwater crocodile named Dirty Harry, who predicted Spain`s World Cup final win and this week called the result of Australia`s general election by snatching a chicken carcass dangling beneath a caricature of Prime Minister Julia Gillard.
But Paul has stopped short of predicting that England will host the World Cup for the first time since 1966. After his uncanny run of World Cup success, Paul retired from the role of octopus oracle.