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Paul The Octopus is back! And this time it's good news for England (UPDATE: Paul is DEAD)

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Paul the "psychic" octopus has become the latest star to support England's bid to host the World Cup in 2018.


The two-year-old Weymouth-born but German based cephalopod became a global celebrity for predicting results at the World Cup in South Africa.


He has since signed a book and a number of merchandise deals, and is also set to exhibit his skills in a film.


Former England star John Barnes said: "Paul becoming an official ambassador is tremendous for the bid campaign."


The famous sea creature was hatched at a Sea Life Centre in Weymouth in 2008 and, after spending two years at a German aquarium he hit the headlines during the summer for his football predictions.


He correctly predicted the outcomes of all seven of Germany's games - including the 4-1 demolition of England for a place in the quarter-finals - plus the Spain-Netherlands final.


Following a triumphant return to the Oberhausen Sea Life Aquarium in the western German city in July, Paul was rewarded with his own replica World Cup trophy garnished with his favourite food - mussels.


Paul used mussels to make his World Cup predictions for each game by choosing one from the two jars bearing the flags of opponents.


There has been recent rumours of retirement, along with offers to purchase him, but Tanja Munzig, spokseperson at the German aquarium, insisted that Paul would "step back from the official oracle business".


However, with his country of birth looking to stage the Fifa tournament in eight years, any thought of a rest seems to have been put on hold.


Nicola Hamilton, manager at Weymouth Sea Life Centre, said: "Paul has spent the last two years of his life in Germany, but he is definitely a proud Englishman and is therefore delighted to put his support behind England 2018.


"We have had a number of football approaches from around the world but Paul was only ever going to choose his homeland.



"With his predicting days behind him Paul is now concentrating on a number of new projects and the England 2018 campaign is something we are sure he feels passionately about. Becoming an official ambassador for the bid is an honour for Paul and everyone here."


Paul joins a list of celebrities supporting the bid that includes England players David Beckham and Rio Ferdinand, 2008 Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton, and musicians Noel Gallagher and Sting.


Barnes, a former Liverpool and England midfielder and fellow 2018 ambassador, added: "After his success during South Africa 2010, Paul is undoubtedly one of the biggest names in football.


"I predict that huge numbers of people will follow Paul's lead and back the bid. Since our launch last year, more than a million football fans have officially shown their support, including some of England's most famous names.


"With the decision date fast approaching it's now more important than ever to get behind England 2018."


England is battling with Russia, the United States, Australia, and joint bids from Spain and Portugal, and Holland and Belgium for the right to host the 2018 World Cup tournament.


The winning bids for 2018 and the 2022 tournament will be revealed on 2 December.



source - http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/8931368.stm

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  • 2 months later...

Paul the World Cup octopus dies in his tank in Germany


Paul the octopus, an unlikely star of the 2010 World Cup who 'predicted' the outcome of eight matches, has died at an aquarium in Germany.


Staff at the Sea Life centre in Oberhausen said they were "devastated" to learn that he had passed away during the night.


Paul made his name by successfully choosing a mussel from one of two boxes bearing the flags of competing nations. Octopuses rarely live beyond two years so his death was not unexpected.


Paul was two-and-a-half years old and had been hatched at another centre at Weymouth in England in 2008. The centre's manager, Stefan Porwoll, said that Paul had correctly guessed the winner of seven of Germany's World Cup matches, including their defeats, and had "enthused people across every continent".


As the tournament progressed, the octopus's uncanny knack of selecting the correct box drew increasing interest from the world's media, culminating in his choice of Spain as the eventual winner. He became an instant hero in Spain, prompting a request to have him put on display at Madrid zoo. Amid the euphoria, he was even made an honorary citizen of a Spanish town before being made an ambassador for England's 2018 World Cup bid.


The Oberhausen centre said he had seemed fine when last checked on Monday night but was found dead on Tuesday morning. "We are consoled by the knowledge that he enjoyed a good life," Mr Porwoll said. The prophetic cephalopod's brief but extraordinary life is unlikely to be forgotten.


A documentary has been filmed and books and toys are already planned for the Christmas market. "It's a sad day. Paul was rather special but we managed to film Paul before he left this mortal earth," said his agent, Chris Davies.


A memorial is to be erected at the aquarium in his memory.



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