Can animals predict which teams win 2014 World Cup matches?
In 2010, an octopus named Paul correctly predicted the outcome of eight World Cup matches in a row, including the final showdown between Spain and the Netherlands.
In 2010, after winning worldwide attention as an animal oracle, Paul passed away at the tender age of two and a half — a normal lifespan for an octopus vulgaris. But a raft of other animals have been competing to fill Paul’s, er, shoes in the 2014 World Cup season. So far, however, the would-be successors to Paul the Octopus haven’t been faring so well.
Nelly the Elephant predicted that the German team would overtake the Ghanians in the second round. The match, however, ended in a tie.
Pele the Piranha predicted that the host country of Brazil would defeat Mexico. This match, however, also ended in a tie.
Flopsy the Kangaroo, a.k.a. the “Predictaroo,” correctly predicted that Brazil would defeat Croatia in the opening match of the World Cup but flopped badly in predicting that Australia would defeat Chile.
Alves the Tapir also correctly predicted the outcome of the opening match between Brazil and Croatia. But he wrongly predicted that England would prevail over the Netherlands, whose team is still going strong.
Big Head the Turtle was the third animal to correctly predict the outcome of the Brazil-Croatia match. But, like Pele the Piranha, he wrongly predicted that Mexico would beat the host country of Brazil in their second match (it ended in a tie).
So, for now, much hope — at least here in the United States — rides on Nasar, a prognosticating horse who lives inside a 300-year-old farmhouse in Hold, Germany, with his owner, Stephanie Arndt, a doctor. When the online editorial office of a local newspaper enlisted the horse’s help in predicting the winner of the U.S.-Germany World Cup match on June 26, Nasar predicted that the United States would win by kicking a beach ball into a miniature soccer goal with a U.S. flag attached to it.
Could Nasar be the real deal — the never-fail Ouija of the animal kingdom? Stay tuned.
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