Let us forget, for a moment, that my favourite team got knocked out in the group stages (that’s what I get for thinking Germany’s men’s team would make history by winning two World Cups back-to-back like their women’s team did in ’03 and ’07) and revisit the issue of psychics. Over the years, several animals have risen to prominence because of their supposed ability to predict the outcome of World Cup matches. Of these, the first to come to mind is Paul the octopus, whose tentacular prognostications earned him international attention.
Following in Paul’s footsteps for this World Cup was a giant pacific – yes! – octopus, captured by fishermen in Japan and dubbed Rabio. Accurately predicting an otherwise tragic future as a bento box special, Rabio also accurately predicted all of Japan’s matches, until the one match he got wrong.
It’s not that Rabio was literally singing for his supper and only predicting good things for his… friends? Captors? He accurately predicted all of Japan’s results, including their loss to Poland, but something just went wrong on 3 July when he divined that the Samurai Blue’s would win against Belgium. It was a thrilling match (I lost my voice), but in the end Belgium came through with a 3-2 win from behind.
Now, Paul and his prediction accuracy of 85% was lucky enough to die of natural causes. Rabio was not so fortunate, and on 4 July 4, he was killed and sold by the fishermen who’d caught him. There will be no funeral for our invertebrate buddy, and he’s likely already been thoroughly digested by someone as you read this. But he’ll live on in our hearts. Like cholesterol.
As a sidenote: if this is what people do to living creatures that are wrong, what’s going to happen to all those AIs that predicted a Germany – Brazil final?