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Tentacled tipsters and prophetic pachyderm predict Women's World Cup

The Local · 24 Jun 2011, 14:31

Published: 24 Jun 2011 14:31 GMT+02:00

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The tentacled tipster Paula was put through her paces on Friday in Konstanz in southern Germany, but made the shock prediction that Canada would win Sunday's opening match against the hosts in Berlin.

The octopus, whose gender is actually unknown, had to choose between two compartments in a plastic box in its tank, one with a Germany flag and one with a Canada one, with each containing a tasty morsel.

Click here for a gallery of some World Cup-loving animals

The prediction is a bold one as Germany, whose women are hoping to win their third consecutive World Cup, have never lost any of their previous nine matches to Canada.

Paula, however, is only one of eight salty soothsayers housed at eight different Sea Life centres in Germany competing to become the official successor to British-born Paul, who lived in an aquarium in Oberhausen.

All eight will be asked to predict the outcome of all Germany's matches in the women's competition which runs from June 26 until July 17.

While Paula and an octoped colleague in Munich both backed Canada on Friday, the fishy forecasters in Berlin, Königswinter and Oberhausen plumped for Germany, making the combined predictions 3-2 in the hosts' favour.

But the method of enticing the underwater oracles to predict the winner proved to be far from fool-proof – three octopuses in other locations in Germany snubbed the treats on offer and ignored both boxes.

This was determined by aquarium officials to mean that they expect a draw.

Meanwhile one-year-old African elephant Nelly got in on the forecasting act at the Serengeti Park in Hodenhagen, near Hannover, by predicting a win for Germany after opting to kick a ball into the Canada net when given a choice.

But it is all a far cry so far from last summer's performances by Paul – who has become something of an icon here – after he kept a clean sheet in the men's competition in South Africa.

He correctly foretold the outcome of all Germany's games, even a defeat to Serbia in the group stage and to Spain in the semi-finals, as well as Spain's eventual victory in the final.

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In the process he cost bookmakers a fortune and won worldwide fame, with rolling news channels in Germany carrying live coverage when he was asked to choose – as they did with Paula on Friday.

Paul died aged nearly three in October, sparking hundreds of messages of condolence from his fan club on social networking website Facebook, whose ranks have more than tripled since his death to more than 200,000.


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Your comments about this article

00:52 June 25, 2011 by wood artist
Paula is no Paul. There was only one, and he was it. She's just trying to cash in on his fame.

07:35 June 25, 2011 by proclusian
While one might say that "der Tipp" can be rendered in English as "tip" I don't think anyone would say that "tippen" in German can be translated as "tipping" in English, as you do in the lede here.

Zu tippen & to tip are simply false friends.
12:06 June 25, 2011 by Landmine
Whats with this German affinity to find an animal with a crystal ball regarding sports?????? Any Octopusses or other animals that can predict the future casualties of wounded in Afghanistan or the future of the Euro and the EU????
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