June 22, 2018 / 10:54 AM / 3 months ago

Feline fortune-teller Achilles backs Brazil to beat Costa Rica

(Reuters) - Brazil might have made a slow start to their World Cup campaign but things are looking up, with feline fortune-teller Achilles predicting a win against Costa Rica hours before kick off in St Petersburg on Friday.

Achilles the cat, one of the State Hermitage Museum mice hunters, attempts to predict the result of the 2018 FIFA World Cup match between Brazil and Costa Rica during an event in Saint Petersburg, Russia June 22, 2018. REUTERS/Anton Vaganov

Five-times champions Brazil have struggled to get out of the blocks and were held 1-1 by Switzerland in their opening Group E match last week. However, coach Tite can look forward to the team celebrating their first win - if Achilles is to be believed.

Offered a choice of two bowls of food, the clairvoyant cat chose the one with the Brazilian flag. A safe choice, perhaps, given his fellow psychic Timon the meerkat incorrectly predicted that Denmark would beat Australia on Thursday. That game ended 1-1.

Achilles lives in St Petersburg’s Hermitage museum and is deaf, which according to his caretakers, helps him go about making predictions without distractions.

“We’re sure he has a special gift, because he is deaf we think if he has nothing, then he (must have) something he has received more (of). And this is his gift,” said Maria Haltunen, the press secretary of the historical museum.

The white feline is one of many animals trying their hand at predictions, including hippos Milya and Glyasik in Kaliningrad, Spartak the lemur in Yekaterinburg and Harry the otter in Sochi.

Asked who Achilles would back for the title, Haltunen said: “Russia, he is a patriot. Therefore the games where the Russian team was playing were extraordinarily important for us. Our director told us that the most important predictions he has already made.”

Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Yekaterinburg; Editing by Christian Radnedge

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