World Cup Oracles

Translated into English (Original version)

Remember Germany's Paul the Octopus? By guessing the winner of Germany's matches, he became the star of the 2010 World Cup. He also guessed the winner of the final. Paul's exploits started with Euro 2008, and he went on to predict 11 out of 13 matches correctly. For each upcoming match, he chose between two boxes containing food, each carrying the national flag of one of the two teams involved. Shortly after the 2010 World Cup, Paul died.

Paul was not alone among animal oracles. Even Harry the Crocodile picked the winner of the 2010 World Cup. He was also able to predict the results of two consecutive Australian elections. Unfortunately, Harry never had the appeal of the German octopus. Neither did Mani, a parrot from Singapore, fare any better. He managed to guess all the winners of the quarter- and semi-finals in the 2010 World Cup, but failed to predict the winner between Spain and the Netherlands in the final.

Since Paul the Parrot's untimely death, there has been fierce competition over who would take his crown. During Euro 2012, there were three challengers from the animal world: Citta, an Indian elephant living in a zoo in Krakow, Poland. Fred, a Ukrainian ferret who could be followed on Twitter. And Funtik, the Ukrainian soothsayer hog, who able to predict the results of 2 out of 3 matches correctly.

Who will take the place of Paul the Octopus during this year's World Cup? Will it be the parrot blessed by Pope Francis in Saint Peter’s Square, now a star of Italian national public TV? Or will it be Nelly, the German elephant who has correctly predicted 30 out of 33 match results so far? And of course, don't underestimate the psychic powers of the panda cub supported by China's state media.

The Italian parrot named Amore (Italian for love) will give his prediction by choosing the flag of the winning team on a miniature football pitch. Nelly prefers to predict her winners by kicking a ball into one of the two nets flying the flags of the competing countries. On the other hand, China's panda cub will guess the outcome of matches by picking food from boxes marked with flags during the group matches and by climbing a tree flying a flag in the knockout rounds.

Do you have a pet?
Would he or she be able to do better? How?
Let's give them a shot!

by Phil Harris

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