A Brief History
Today, on July 13th, 2014, the 20th FIFA World Cup soccer championship game will be taking place between Germany and Argentina.
This international tournament for soccer, known as football to most of the world, takes place once every four years and is governed by the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) who also chooses the host. The current host is Brazil. Although soccer is relatively unpopular in the United States, in Europe and South America the World Cup is the equivalent of American football’s Super Bowl, baseball’s World Series and basketball’s NBA Championship finals combined. It even exceeds the Olympics in terms of viewership. In Germany, for example, 88% of households tuned in to watch the Germany-Brazil semi-final of the 2014 World Cup. For those reading this article after July 13th, 2014, you will surely know the final results, but at its publication, the champion was of yet still undecided. A loggerhead sea turtle named Cabecao, however, has already predicted the outcome. Following the popularity of Germany’s Paul the psychic Octopus, the Brazilians selected Cabecao as their animal oracle. Paul had almost correctly predicted every winner in games involving Germany at both the European Football Championships in 2008 and at the 2010 World Cup, and even went so far as to correctly predicting that Spain would win against the Netherlands in the final game of the 2010 World Cup.
By choosing between flag-bearing boxes containing food, he correctly predicted the winners of 11 of 13 games, giving him a success rate of 85%. Cabecao, on the other flipper, selects his winners by biting at fish hung from the respective nation’s flag.
Whether his record will be as good as Paul’s, however, is doubtful, as he already flubbed the results for the semi-final game between Germany and Brazil. He predicted a Brazilian win, but instead Brazil’s at-home winning streak was broken, and they suffered their most humiliating and demoralizing defeat ever (7-1) in which they lost many of their World Cup records – to Germany…
The crowd was visibly stunned and such backlash at the Germans was feared, that German fans had to be protectively escorted out of the arena by police. Just how bad and disastrous it was is further underlined by the fact that there is an entire Wikepedia article dedicated just to it.
Unfortunately, Paul is dead now and apparently has not yet been replaced by a worthy successor. Most likely he would have liked to see his German team win their 4th World Cup title, as they inch their way up to Brazil’s five World Cup wins. Cabecao is trying and believes Argentina will prevail at this World Cup, but whether this prediction will prove true will most likely be a matter of chance or just pure luck. This championship tournament may not be over yet, but right now in terms of World Cup hits, it is looking like Paul the Octopus 1 – Cabecao the Sea Turtle 0.
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For more information, please see…
Philippe, Alexandre O., dir. The Life and Times of Paul the Psychic Octopus. DVD.