When it comes to any big football match around the world, pretty much everyone in the world has their opinion on who will win, even if that person hasn’t watched a single match. That’s why sometimes it’s best to leave it up to those that have no biases one way or another: the animals. Over the years, there have been some notable animals to predict football results, with these five taking the world by storm.
Paul the Octopus
After hatching on January 26, 2008, at the Sea Life Centre in Weymouth, England, Paul the Octopus quickly drew attention. Those that worked at the Centre said that he seemed more intelligent than the average octopus and would often become fascinated with visitors that walked by. He’d swim up to the tank glass and make eye contact with passersby.
Due to his intelligence, his carers would have him predict matches for UEFA Euro 2008. The first match prediction that Paul made was Germany over Poland in the group stage, with Paul proving to be right. He then went on to predict six Germany matches, getting four correct. Paul really rose to fame, though, when he predicted the victor of all seven German matches during the 2010 World Cup, and then went on to correctly predict Spain to defeat the Netherlands in the finals. Paul predicted other matches, as well, hitting on 85.7 percent of his guesses.
Rabiot the Octopus
Following the success of Paul, Japan got in on the octopus fun when a giant one named Rabiot was caught in Obira, Hokkaido. Rabiot got off to a hot start when he predicted Japan would win against Colombia in the group stages of the 2018 World Cup. The fisher that caught him let Rabiot continue predicting the Japanese matches, predicting that the country with draw with Senegal and lose to Poland.
It turned out that Rabiot was right on all three occasions, but unlike Japan, Rabiot didn’t make it past the group stage. Wanting to cash in on his catch, Kimio Abe decided that it was time to cut up Rabiot and sell him as food. While it was a pretty grim ending, the life of an octopus is not a long one.
Achilles the Cat
The 2018 World Cup was filled with animals coming up with their own predictions, but Achilles the Cat was deemed the “official” animal oracle of the event due to his proximity to the games. The white, deaf, Russian cat was asked to select each Russian match, and the first one turned out to be correct as the team defeated Saudi Arabia easily.
It wasn’t the first time that the cat had predicted matches, either. During the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup, Achilles was right in three out of his four attempts. Achilles continued to make guesses after the world cup as well, especially as he nailed all four of his predictions for Russia in the 2018 World Cup, and even made choices for Euro 2020.
Nelly the Elephant
A lot of animal prognosticators are tempted by food, and in the case of aquatic creatures, tend to randomly drift toward a winner. However, Nelly the Elephant was actually playing football while making predictions. At Serengeti Park in Germany, Nelly is offered up with two soccer nets in front of her with a flag at the top of each net. She then kicks a ball into the net of the team she feels will win.
It may seem odd, but Nelly was actually able to correctly predict 30 out of the first 33 matches from 2006 to 2012. People around the world would start making wagers based on Nelly’s picks after her hot streak, showing that she’s the smartest pachyderm in football.
Predictaroo the Kangaroo
If there were an animal that would be built for the quickness and agility of soccer while also having size and power, it’s the kangaroo. That’s why Predictaroo became such a phenomenon and developed a large following at the Australia Zoo. The roo has predicted a wide range of sports, including major football events.
Though the accuracy has been a little lower than those on the rest of the list, Predictaroo also has one of the biggest fanbases. Its real name is actually Flopsy, but most of us simply know her by the prognosticating moniker that caught the world’s attention during the 2014 World Cup.