Seven psychic animals said to rightly predict World Cup results, from Achilles the cat to Hong Kong’s own Datou
Football’s love of clairvoyant animals knows no bounds and in recent years they have even proven to be very successful. Here are the top tipsters
From clairvoyant camels and prophetic pandas to one very famous oracular octopus, there has been a whole menagerie of creatures said to be bestowed with the special – and incredibly niche – power of predicting the outcome of World Cup games over the years.
With each World Cup comes a new soothsaying star ready to steal the limelight with their “skills” – with varying degrees of success. Let’s take a look at this mystical array of animals.
Paul the octopus
Who could forget Paul, the lovable psychic cephalopod, who left his indelible inky mark on football history after the 2010 World Cup.
His keepers at the Sea Life Centre in Oberhausen, Germany, would offer him two boxes that contained food and had different countries’ flags on the outside.
After stunning onlookers during Euro 2008 matches, choosing four out of six winning teams, he correctly predicted all seven of Germany’s results during the following World Cup, and even correctly chose Spain as the ultimate winner.
Achilles the cat
This year’s World Cup animal star is a formidable feline named Achilles, who has patriotically predicted that Russia will beat Saudi Arabia in the opening match tonight.
The deaf, snow white moggie, is part of the team that mouses for St Petersburg’s Hermitage Museum in Russia. He is said to have accurately predicted the winners during the 2017 Confederations Cup, another major football tournament held every four years and seen as a test event for the larger World Cup.
Shaheen the camel
In 2014, the Dubai-based Gulf News discovered a wise camel named Shaheen, who would indicate which team it believed would win each World Cup match.
His record last time was patchy, but fans of the humped mystic will be buoyed by the camel’s return this year. Straight out of the gate, Shaheen has indicated that Russia will win tonight’s match.
Camels can be pretty cute, but they can’t really compete with baby pandas, who wanted in on the action during the 2014 World Cup.
The cuddly critters were set to predict match winners by picking food from a choice of baskets and climbing trees at The Giant Panda Protection and Research Centre in the southwestern province of Sichuan.
Unfortunately, authorities stepped in at the last moment to stamp out the stunt, reportedly out of concerns the babies would be scared by the attention from humans.
Mystic Marcus the pig
Not content with letting other creatures hog the limelight, a pig named Mystic Marcus has been making headlines for his extensive World Cup 2018 predictions.
According to his British owner, Marcus has a 100 per cent track record of predicting not only sports results, but also the outcome of the 2016 US election.
At the Russian tournament, the porcine predictor has revealed that Nigeria, Belgium, Uruguay and Argentina will get through to the semi-finals by eating apples bearing the flags of those nations. What happens after that will be left to fate, apparently.
Citta the elephant
Citta the elephant, a resident at Krakow zoo in Poland, will try to predict the winners of its home country’s matches this year.
More than 10,000 people chose Citta over a penguin and a giraffe in a poll to choose an animal psychic.
Polish papers report she will indicate her choice by selecting a piece of fruit. In one of her first sessions, she chose Poland to win over Lithuania in a friendly match held yesterday. And she was right.
All hail Hong Kong’s newest match-predicting medium – a wee West Highland Maltese who goes by the name of “Datou the Wonder Dog”.
Datou has thrown his hat boldly into the ring by declaring that not only will Russia beat Saudi Arabia tonight (a fair bet, our friends on the sports desk tell us), but that Iceland will win the final. Let’s see!