The luck of soccer: Animals that have prophesied results during World Cups

From camels to birds, animals have been protagonists in the illusion of hundreds of fans during the World Cup

The luck of soccer: Animals that have prophesied results during World Cups

During the history of the soccer world championships (especially the closest ones in time) the animals have not only played a leading role in the posters designed by the organization of each World Cup, but also among the fans' own party. Why? Because these instead of being taken into account as pets, began to be seen by the fans as a symbol of luck, which can deposit confidence and observe a game with the conviction of knowing which selection will be the winner.

The legend of Paul

But this trend did not start in the World Cup but in the Eurocup, in the 2008 edition, when it was played in cooperation between Austria and Switzerland. In Germany emerged a mythical figure of eight tentacles, which was set to stay in the history of world football. Although at first the octopus Paul was only destined to predict the results of the Teutonic team in the European competition, the commercial level of the animal even took him to the gates of South Africa.

The 2010 World Cup left great surprises in African lands, but far from these also welcomed a great astrologer or diviner. During seven games, Paul was the chosen one to determine the destiny of the same ones, when choosing the food of one of the two empty tanks that they put in front of him and that had stuck the flag of the selected one that finally finished gaining the party. Such was the predictive success of Paul, who managed to foreshadow the world championship obtained by Spain, even hours before this selection did on the court.

The fame of the marine oracle was not inside a fish tank. In social networks groups of people were organized that, even, requested the repatriation of Paul to England (country in which he had been born); while web designers created mobile applications in order that the luck or magic of the octopus would accompany its hundreds of followers in the cell phones of each one of them. Paul died in 2010, and although he probably never knew how transcendental his life was, the internet does allow it to do so.

"In order to honor Paul and because of the worldwide interest he aroused, we are going to erect a monument here. We are going to expose the best moments of Paul's life", in October 2010 sources from the aquarium in Oberhausen (Germany), where Paul made history and finally died, said.

A kingdom without a king

For the World Cup in Brazil 2014, there were several animals willing to replace octopus Paul, but none could reach that dream. Among the most prominent were the Shaheen camel in Dubai and the Cabezona turtle, which officiated as a local fortune-teller.

In the case of the first, his caretakers placed him in front of two flags so that he would grab with his mouth the one of the eleventh who he thought was going to be the winner; while Cabezona did it eating one of the three sardines that they put in the water (the third was in case of a tie).

As well as these animals, there was also an armadillo, a panda and even a chicken; but none could have the glory of Paul.

The successors in Russia 2018

In Russia 2018, the story is no different. Less than a month old, there are already two animals that claim to be popular with Paul eight years ago. One of them is the cat Achilles, a deaf cat that, due to his own disability, has become much more attractive to the mysticism of an oracle. Aquiles participated in the Confederations Cup and predicted four of the sixteen games played.

Another is the Zabiyaka goat, whose owners were encouraged to exalt their gifts as a fortune-teller putting her to choose the possible world champion among six candidates. In addition to predicting that Belgium will rise to the World Cup in July, he also chose France as runner-up.


Latin American Post | Christopher Ramírez Hernández

Translated from "La suerte del fútbol: Animales que han profetizado resultados durante los Mundiales"

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