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Nervy Germany turns to English octopus oracle

sports Updated: Jun 23, 2010 17:47 IST

AFP
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Nervous ahead of their make-or-break World Cup match with Ghana on Wednesday, Germany has turned to an English-born octopus called Paul with a knack for correctly predicting winners.

"For the European Championship in 2008 Paul had a success rate of more than 80 percent for the German games," Tanja Munzig, a spokeswoman for Sea Life in Oberhausen in western Germany where the eight-legged oracle lives, said.

"And for this World Cup, he has had a 100-percent success rate so far."

Two plastic boxes, one with a German flag and one with their opponent's, are lowered into Paul's tank, each with a tasty morsel of food inside. The box which Paul opens first is adjudged to be his predicted winner.

For Wednesday's crunch game, he chose the box with the Germany flag. He correctly predicted Germany would beat Australia in their opening Group D match and that they would lose to underdogs Serbia last week.

The mollusc medium has to be right because if Germany lose, they will endure their first-ever World Cup exit in the group stage.

It is uncertain whether Paul can be trusted, however, having been born at Sea Life in Weymouth, England -- Germany's arch enemy when it comes to football.