Paul, an octopus with an eye for soccer, picks Germany over England in World Cup game


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BERLIN — A 2-year-old octopus oracle -- born in England but raised in Germany -- has predicted a German win over England in Sunday’s World Cup game.

The mollusk named Paul chose a mussel out of a water glass marked with the German flag over a mussel in a glass with the English St. George’s Cross, said Tanja Munzig, a spokeswoman for the Sea Life Aquarium in the western city of Oberhausen, on Friday.


Paul has proved to be a reliable oracle in the past -- he predicted Germany’s win over Australia and Ghana and its loss to Serbia. During the 2008 European Championship, he predicted 80% of all German games right, Munzig said.

Germany’s national team faces England in a much-anticipated round-of-16 face-off in South Africa.

‘Paul’s prediction was phenomenal,’ Munzig said. ‘He swam straight over to the German glass, climbed in and even put a lid on top once he was sitting inside. It was completely crazy.’

The organizers of Friday’s event were still analyzing why Paul covered the glass with a lid.

‘Either he was a bit ashamed that he gave up his English roots so quickly,’ Munzig said, ‘or he was just absolutely convinced about a fast, overwhelming German victory.’

Munzig said that even though Paul was born in England, ‘he now carries a German passport,’ because he has lived in Oberhausen for most of his life.


Other animal oracles in German zoos cannot claim such a strong track record.

Nineteen-year-old hippo Petty falsely predicted a German win over Serbia last week. At the Chemnitz zoo in eastern Germany, she had to choose between two piles of hay with red apples on top and nibbled from the wrong pile.

Tamarin Anton, a monkey at the same zoo, chose the wrong raisin a few days ago, incorrectly claiming that Ghana would beat Germany, kicking it out of the World Cup.

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-- Associated Press

Top photo: Paul is pictured in the Sea Life Aquarium on June 22. Credit: Clemens Bilan / Associated Press