Japan, following the blueprint established by Saudi Arabia, fell behind 1-0 to a superpower before mounting a second-half comeback to shock Germany and the world. Some otter somewhere predicted this would happen and is being lauded for its psychic powers online because it's an animal and we all love stupid stuff.
I also love telling people to calm down. And reminding them that there's only one non-human World Cup-predicting soul that matters and it'll take a lot more than getting one pick correct to belong in the same sentence as this precious, omniscient cephalopod.
Paul The Octopus. RIP to a real one.
This eight-tentacled king was the breakout star of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Two years prior, Paul, who was born in England before being transferred to Germany, correctly predicted four out of six German results in the Euros. His two misses were losses to Spain and Croatia.
Blessed with remarkable intelligence, as all octopi are, Paul went back to the lab and created a new model. One that proved infalliable at the next World Cup. He picked Germany to beat Austraila and Ghana. He picked them to lose to Croatia. He picked them to beat England and Argentina en route to the semifinals. Each time he was correct.
Then he went full god mode, bucking convention and selecting Spain over his adopted country.
Once again, Paul knew what he was talking about. Perhaps because octopi are clearly aliens from the future biding their time on the ocean floor waiting out human civilization. Perhaps because he was just sharp as hell.
He nailed the third-place game and the Spaniard's triumphant final for a remarkable 8-0 record.
A few months later he died in his cage shy of his third birthday. He is now in the big sportsbook in the sky. Where he is looking down, incensed that anyone would say his name and someone else's in the same breath. Get back to us when another animal goes 12-2.
But Paul, if you're reading this, please know that some of us will never stop fighting for you. You gave us so much. It's the least we can do. And if you happen to know what's going to unfold in the knockout stages, our DMs are open.