ESPN – Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luiz Rodriguez Zapatero has joked he will offer state protection to Paul the psychic octopus, as the mollusc prepares to make his final FIFA World Cup 2010 predictions on Friday.
Paul has achieved global fame after correctly predicting the results of all of Germany’s games at the tournament in South Africa. In order to harness his powers, his keepers at Sea Life Oberhausen present Paul with the choice of two glass boxes, both containing a mussel but each bearing the flag of a different country.
The odds of Paul correctly predicting Germany’s results are 1 in 64 and he proved correct once again when tipping Spain to beat Joachim Low’s side in the semi-final, which they duly did thanks to a header from Carles Puyol.
Many German fans were unhappy with Paul’s decision to plump for Spain and fearing a backlash, Zapatero has joked he will seek to protect Paul as he delivers his verdict on the third-place play-off and the final itself on Friday.
Zapatero said: “I am concerned for the octopus … I am thinking of sending him a protective team.”
Spanish environment and fisheries minister Elena Espinosa added: “On Monday, I shall be at the European Council of Ministers and I shall be asking for a [fishing] ban on Paul the octopus so the Germans do not eat him.”
Paul will make his predictions at 0900 GMT on Friday.
BBC News – An octopus credited with psychic powers is due to predict who will win Sunday’s World Cup final in South Africa.
Paul, from the Sea Life Aquarium in the western German city of Oberhausen, has so far correctly forecast every World Cup game involving the national team.
But with Spain facing the Netherlands, he will be called on to pick the winner of a match without Germany playing.
He predicts by choosing a mussel from one of two boxes bearing the flags of the competing nations.
On Friday, Paul will also be asked to tip the winner of Saturday’s Germany-Uruguay match for third place.
The two-year-old cephalopod has become an international celebrity.
His prognosis ahead of Wednesday’s World Cup semi-final was broadcast live around the world.
He correctly predicted all of Germany’s World Cup games, including a shock defeat by Serbia in the group stages and the ousting by Spain.
After that defeat, there were calls in Germany for Paul to be roasted with lemon juice and olive oil or turned into a plate of paella.
But his owners said on Thursday that he is safe with them.
“If Paul gets it wrong tomorrow, nothing is going to happen to him, to Paul,” said Sea Life’s Tanja Munzig.
“Paul has proven his mettle so far and there is nothing bad waiting for him round the corner if he gets it wrong. It could happen to anyone. Even an octopus can get it wrong!”
His record is not perfect, anyway, say his owners. Paul got it wrong in about 30% of Germany’s games during the 2008 European Championship, including their loss to Spain in the final.