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Spain's semifinal win matches octopus' World Cup prediction

By Simon Hooper and Peter Wilkinson, CNN
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Octopus picks Spain to beat Germany
  • Octopus predicted that Spain would beat Germany in World Cup semifinal
  • Eight-legged sea creature has predicted result of all six of Germany's games
  • Octopus makes predictions by opening box of food bearing flag of winning country

(CNN) -- German football fans' agony over Wednesday's loss to Spain in the World Cup semifinal was perhaps worsened by the knowledge that the result was predicted by an octopus.

Paul the octopus, a psychic cephalopod at Sea Life in Oberhausen, western Germany, has become a World Cup phenomenon after correctly predicting the victors in all six of Germany's matches. Tuesday's ceremony was carried live on German television.

Sea Life staff help Paul make his prediction by lowering two boxes of food into his tank, one with a German flag and the other bearing that of their opponents. The case he opens first is adjudged to be his predicted winner.

The octopus correctly picked that coach Joachim Low's side would beat Ghana and Australia in the group stages -- but also outwitted most professional pundits by predicting Germany's shock 1-0 defeat by Serbia. Australia in the group stages -- but also outwitted most professional pundits by predicting Germany's shock 1-0 defeat by Serbia.

In the knockout stages, Paul tipped Germany to beat both England and Argentina.

But the eight-legged oracle drew cries of despair from assembled watchers prior to the semi-final round, when he lingered over the box for the German flag before opting for the Spanish flag instead. Spain won the match 1-0.

But the octopus only managed an 80 percent success rate in predicting Germany's results at the 2008 European Championships.

He also failed to foresee Spain's 1-0 win over Germany in the final. Spain will face the Netherlands Sunday in the World Cup Final.

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