June 29, 2010 / 2:49 PM / in 7 years

Psychic Octopus picks Germany to beat Argentina

BERLIN (Reuters Life!) - An octopus with possible psychic powers, who has correctly picked the winner of Germany’s four World Cup matches so far, on Tuesday tipped Germany to beat Argentina in their World Cup quarter-final match on Saturday.

<p>A two year-old octopus Paul, the so-called "octopus oracle" predicts Germany's victory in their 2010 World Cup quarter-final soccer match against Argentina by choosing a mussel, from a glass box with the German flag instead of a glass box with the Argentinian flag, at the Sea Life Aquarium in the western German city of Oberhausen June 29, 2010. Paul has so far rightly predicted Germany's first and second round victories over Ghana, Australia and England plus Germany's defeat against Serbia. REUTERS/Kirsten Neumann</p>

Paul, a two-year-old octopus born in England now living in a German aquarium, has a 100-percent winning streak at the World Cup -- and even accurately predicted Serbia would beat Germany in their Group D match-up earlier in the tournament.

The eight-legged octopus, a denizen of Sea Life in the western town of Oberhausen, has turned into a celebrity oracle for getting all four picks right so far -- including last Sunday’s elimination round match when Germany beat England.

On Tuesday, Paul once again was given the choice of picking food from two different plastic containers lowered into his tank -- one with an Argentine flag on it and one with a German flag.

The container Paul opens first is seen as his pick. Paul moved cautiously and spent about 45 minutes mulling his decision before eating the food in the box with the German flag -- suggesting a hard-fought win in extra time or even penalties.

Last week Paul ignored the England container and quickly went for the container with the Germany flag -- which was taken as a hint that Germany would win a decisive victory

<p>A two year-old octopus Paul, the so-called "octopus oracle" predicts Germany's victory in their 2010 World Cup quarter-final soccer match against Argentina by choosing a mussel, from a glass box with the German flag instead of a glass box with the Argentinian flag, at the Sea Life Aquarium in the western German city of Oberhausen June 29, 2010. Paul has so far rightly predicted Germany's first and second round victories over Ghana, Australia and England plus Germany's defeat against Serbia. REUTERS/Kirsten Neumann</p>

“It took Paul a really long time to make up his mind today for the Argentina-Germany match,” said Sea Life spokeswoman Tanja Munzig. “Even after he opened the Germany container it took him a while to go in and eat the clam.”

Munzig said, by contrast, it took Paul only seconds to decide before the England match to go for the Germany container.

Slideshow (2 Images)

“That it took him so long to make up his mind suggests it’ll be a very tense match against Argentina that won’t be decided until the very end -- maybe not even until penalties,” she said.

Munzig also denied any suggestion the containers were rigged. The morsel of food is identical and the containers are lined up in the same order as FIFA. Argentina was on the left side on Tuesday (because the match is Argentina-Germany) whereas England was on the right last week (Germany-England).

“There are no tricks, the food is the same and everything in the two containers is the same except for the flags,” she said.

So how does Paul do it?

“That’s his secret,” she said.

Reporting by Erik Kirschbaum; editing by Paul Casciato

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