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Octopus Paul scores full points!

sports Updated: Jul 12, 2010 04:23 IST

Agencies
Highlight Story

The 'oracle octopus' confirmed his flawless accuracy after Spain won the title beating Holland 1-0. Paul had become a hero after accurately foretelling the result of all six matches involving Germany.

The octopus, also known as the "Oracle of Oberhausen," has successfully predicted the winners of few World Cup 2010 matches. Now, Paul's forecast for the winner of Sunday's championship match has also come true, he went with Spain.

Handlers of the 2-year-old floppy octopus, a resident of the Oberhausen Sea Life aquarium, usually have him make predictions only for games in which Germany plays. But because of Paul's recent worldwide fame and demand for his pick for the final, they made an exception.

Here's how the seer sucker makes his prognostications: Officials put a mussel inside each of two clear plastic boxes bearing the national flags of the teams in his tank. Paul then makes his choice by opening the lid with his tentacles and devouring one of the treats.

Millions across Europe, in Taiwan and elsewhere watched a live TV broadcast on Friday of his choice of Spain, complete with breathless commentary. He also predicted Germany over Uruguay in Saturday's third-place game.

Paul has gotten business proposals, has thousands of Facebook fans and even has the attention of world leaders. Animal rights group PETA wants him freed. Many Germans, upset that he correctly picked Spain over Germany in Wednesday's semifinal, want him fried.

"Paul is such a professional oracle, he doesn't even care that hundreds of journalists are watching and commenting on every move he makes," said Stefan Porwoll, the Sea Life aquarium manager. "We're so proud of him."

After his prediction of his home country's loss came true, German TV showed footage of a grilled octopus. That prompted Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero to fret about the safety of "El Pulpo Paul," as he's known in Spain.

"I am concerned about the octopus," Zapatero said. "I'm thinking about sending in a team to protect the octopus because obviously it was very spectacular that he should get Spain's victory right from there."

In response to hundreds of angry e-mails from Germans, the aquarium actually took extra precautions, Porwoll said. "I even told our guards and people at the entrance to keep a close look at possible football fans coming after Paul for revenge," he said, adding that the hate mail was outweighed by declarations of love and requests for predictions. PETA says Paul's tank is too small. But Porwoll said the creature was born in captivity and has never had to deal with any natural enemies, so dumping Paul into the Atlantic would likely mean death. He could live up to four years in captivity, Porwoll added. In the meantime, he might have a future beyond World Cup.