In the case that you systematically filter all the news and stories about the football, you might not heard about World Cup's greatest star. Unlike those millionaires that sweat running after the ball, this one spent the past month swimming in his private tank. Other difference being that he doesn't have two but eight legs.
Oh yes, he also knows the result of the game before it even started. He lives in Oberhausen, Germany. His name is Paul.
Paul started his career in divination during Euro 2008. He had four hits of six German matches which is not bad for a baby octopus. Then he grew up and World Cup 2010 came, and he scored all eight matches he was asked about. That made him very popular all over the world but also desired with lemon and garlic in Germany, Argentina and Netherlands. Don't kill the messenger doesn't apply among football fans.
photo by Moss
Of course, many people are asking how's he doing it? Before the match, they put two transparent boxes with food in his tank, each box has a flag of one of the teams on it. Than Paul eats from the box of the winning team. And bookmakers all over the world change the odds accordingly.
There are always some clever people out there to tell us how something happens. In this case, how Paul knows the winning team. Octopuses are color blind, but they distinguish shapes. And they prefer horizontal lines to vertical ones. So, they say, Paul tends to eat from the box that has horizontal stripes, the brighter the better. Mystery solved! Though I still don't get the connection of flag's stripes and football results.
This story wouldn't be complete if PETA hasn't involved. It's World Cup after all, and animal rights activists already had their say about it's beginning. They couldn't miss the finale, could they? For some strange reason they want Paul kicked out of his tank into the open sea. Like there will be anybody to drop him food in plastic boxes there. He's born and spent his entire life in captivity. No matter that he is a clever and future-knowing animal, he would become a lunch for a shark that doesn't even care about football.