In 2010, the outcome of each of the eight final FIFA Cup games was accurately predicted by what was deemed to be a psychic cephalopod, Paul the Octopus. To refresh your memory, Paul was housed in a tank at the Sea Life Aquarium in Oberhausen in Germany, and correctly picked which team would win by eating from one of two boxes that was marked with the flag of the countries that were playing. As the Football World Cup in Brazil draws toward the finals, we wait in anticipation for the next seafood star to become famous for their picks.
As we reported in *#IT Happens back in 2010, the chance of picking all eight finals matches is less than half a percent. While Paul’s abilities were greater than a question of arithmetic, today his efforts to predict the winning teams in the 2014 World Cup matches have been honoured in the form of a ‘Google Doodle’ on the Google home page, where an animated ‘Paul’ is pictured amongst the clouds scratching his head over the outcome of upcoming games.
The FIFA website offers punters the opportunity to predict which team will proceed to the next round, which goalkeeper will make more saves, who will record more assists in the match, and which team will win more tackles. Results thus far for the top one hundred entrants have been correct more often than not, however no one has achieved 100% accuracy. Studies conducted by Melbourne’s RMIT University using econometric technology have shown that the player’s height, age and whether he is left-footed have a significant impact on his goal-scoring ability.
We say bring back an Octopus to pick this year’s World Cup; and to Paul - RIP our little octo-mate!