Berlin: The cries of despair from all around Germany could probably be heard in South Africa as a “psychic” octopus called Paul tipped Spain Tuesday to beat Germany in the football World Cup semi-final.
The eight-legged oracle who has successfully predicted all five of Germany’s games in South Africa, carefully weighed up the two teams, before plumping for Spain, prompting anguished groans from the assembled media scrum.
Carried live on national television, two plastic boxes, one with a German flag and one with a Spanish, were lowered into Paul’s tank at an aquarium in western Germany, each with a tasty morsel of food inside.
The box which Paul opens first is adjudged to be his predicted winner.
If Paul’s performance is replicated on the pitch, it promises to be an end-to-end thriller. He teased the crowd by initially lingering at the German flag before heading for the Spanish box.
The mollusc medium has shot to fame by defying the odds with a perfect record of picking winners.
Proving he is not just attracted to the colours in the German flag, he rightly foretold the Mannschaft’s shock defeat to Serbia in the group stages.
He then predicted Germany’s triumphant drubbing of England in the last-16, provoking accusations of treachery. Paul should by rights be an England fan, having been born in Weymouth on the south English coast.
Confirming his reputation as a prognosticator par-excellence, he kept up his astonishing run of form by tipping Germany to beat highly fancied Argentina in the quarter-finals.
But all is not lost for coach Joachim Loew and his boys as Paul has been wrong before. In the European Championships in 2008, he had an 80 percent record, getting only one match wrong.
Which one? The final. Against Spain.