Football: Paula the Octopus in action for women's World Cup

During last year's World Cup in South Africa, Paul the Octopus shot to fame for his accurate match predictions, so for the women's competition starting in Germany on Sunday, step forward ... Paula.

The tentacled tipster was put through her paces on Friday in Konstanz in southern Germany, but made the shock choice that Canada will win Sunday's opening match against the hosts in Berlin.

The octopus, whose gender is actually unknown, had to choose between two compartments in a plastic box in its tank, one with a Germany flag and one with a Canada one, with each containing a tasty morsel.

The prediction is a bold one as Germany, whose women are hoping to win their third consecutive World Cup, have never lost any of their previous nine matches to Canada.

Paula, however, is only one of eight salty soothsayers housed at eight different Sea Life centres in Germany competing to become the official successor to British-born Paul, who lived in an aquarium in Oberhausen.

All eight will be asked to predict the outcome of all Germany's matches in the June 26-July 17 women's competition.

While Paula and an eight-legged colleague in Munich both backed Canada on Friday, the fishy forecasters in Berlin, Koenigswinter and Oberhausen plumped for Germany, making the combined predictions 3-2 in the hosts' favour.

But the method of enticing the underwater oracles to predict the winner proved to be far from fool-proof - three octopuses in other locations in Germany snubbed the treats on offer and ignored both boxes.

This was determined by aquarium officials to mean that they expect a draw.

Meanwhile one-year-old African elephant Nelly got in on the forecasting act at the Serengeti Park in Hodenhagen, near Hanover, by predicting a win for Germany after opting to kick a ball into the Canada net when given a choice.

But it is all a far cry so far from last summer's performances by Paul - who has become something of an icon here - after he kept a clean sheet in the men's competition in South Africa.

He correctly foretold the outcome of all Germany's games, even a defeat to Serbia in the group stage and to Spain in the semi-finals, as well as Spain's eventual victory in the final.

In the process he cost bookmakers a fortune and won worldwide fame, with rolling news channels in Germany carrying live coverage when he was asked to choose - as they did with Paula on Friday.

Paul died aged nearly three in October, sparking hundreds of messages of condolence from his fan club on social networking website Facebook, whose ranks have more than tripled since his death to more than 200,000.

stu-ryj/nr11

 

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive or Senior Sales Executive - B2B Exhibitions

£18000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive or Senior Sal...

Recruitment Genius: Head of Support Services

£40000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Team Leader

£22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This industry leading company produces h...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Manager / Sales - OTE £40,000

£20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT provider for the educat...

Day In a Page

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future