While we still mourn the passing of Paul the Octopus, we can take comfort in knowing that his role as a soccer oracle has been passed on to two other animals: a duo of Munchkin cats named Kikunosuke and Rikimaru.
As reported in the Japanese publication IT Media and RocketNews24, the cats' owner—or roommate, since nobody actually "owns" cats—had them "predict" which two teams from each of the initial groups A through H would proceed to the rest of the tournament. He encouraged the felines to try foretelling the future by using two methods. The first was to dangle the four national flags of each group by string from a cat toy. Whichever two flags the cat swatted, chewed on, or took a particular interest in first became the predictions.
The second method involved tying the strings to Styrofoam peanuts, and having the cat chose two flags in a similar manner–by swatting, biting, or pushing them off the table.
Here are the final results:
- Group A: Brazil & Cameroon (predicted by Rikimaru)
- Group B: Spain & Netherlands (predicted by Rikimaru)
- Group C: Colombia & Japan (predicted by Kikunosuke)
- Group D: Uruguay & Italy (predicted by Rikimaru)
- Group E: Switzerland & Ecuador (predicted by Kikunosuke)
- Group F: Argentina & Iran (predicted by Kikunosuke)
- Group G: Portugal & Ghana (predicted by Rikimaru)
- Group H: Russia & South Korea (predicted by Kikunosuke)
But can the cats match the accuracy of the late great Paul the Octopus?
Spain and Cameroon, which the cats predicted as staying in the game, have already been effectively knocked out of the Cup….Germany, one of the main contenders to win the whole shebang, was ruled out by the cats. But other favorites Brazil, Argentina and Portugal, which round out the top five teams in FIFA's worldwide ranking, were all chosen to advance…As far as group C goes, after a disappointing first-round loss to Côte d'Ivoire, subsequent tie with Greece, and final match to come against powerhouse Colombia, the future of Japan is looking a bit bleak…
Unfortunately, the cats' human roommate didn't continue the experiment all the way to the final match-up. But, he said that he might try again, if the cats aren't already bored with the game.