WORLD CUP oracle Paul the Octopus has died at the age of 2 years and 10 months in his tank at the Oberhausen Sea Life Centre in Germany. He passed away peacefully in his sleep. 😦
Over the course of this summer’s FIFA World Cup in South Africa, Weymouth hatched Paul became the most famous animal on the planet. He outshone every single player and event at the tournament by predicting the winner in all seven of his adoptive country’s matches. This included Germany’s shock loss to Serbia (0-1) in their second match and their eventual elimination to Spain (also 0-1) in the Semi-Finals.
Everybody wanted to know who Paul thought would win the Final, and his prediction was broadcast live around the globe. He chose Spain over the Netherlands, and the Spanish went on to beat the Dutch 1-0 after extra-time in the Final (a.k.a. – The Battle of Johannesburg).
The odds of correctly predicating the winners in all eight matches have been given at 256/1.
It is also heavily rumoured – although denied by his keeper – that Paul correctly predicted four of Germany’s six matches in Euro 2008. He is reported to have gotten wrong Croatia’s win over Germany and Spain’s win over Germany in the Final.
Needles to say, Paul made several enemies as a result of his predictions. When Spain beat Germany the German newspaper Westfälische Rundschau accused him of betrayal. I take it they didn’t know he was English. The Spanish government then stepped in with their PM, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero offering him safe-haven in Spain. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad used a speech in Tehran to publicly attack Paul, saying that the west was using him as a propaganda tool. Err, Mahmoud…he’s just an Octopus.
The Sea Life Centre retired Paul the day after the Final, and presented to him his very own replica World Cup trophy and an extra portion of his favourite food – and prediction making tools – mussels.
But Paul kept himself busy in his retirement, and in August he became an official ambassador for England’s 2018 World Cup bid.
Alas, he would not live to see if his home country would be awarded the tournament. Octopuses rarely live beyond the age of 2, so he actually had a long life by his species standards.
P92: “Rest in peace Paul. You were the best thing to come out of what was a pretty dyer World Cup.”
Zakumi (from Jo’burg): “Hey it wasn’t that bad. But seriously, Paul if you can hear me up there in that big fish tank in the sky, we will miss you terribly.”
P92 (raises a full glass): “To Paul.”
Zakumi (raises glass): “Here here, to Paul.”