Paul the octopus correctly predicted the result of the match Uruguay vs. Germany. Coincidence? FIFA rankings tell the story!


 Some football experts believe that ‘Paul the Octopus’ at the Sea Life aquarium, Oberhausen – Germany – became the true star of the FIFA World Cup tournament 2010. His fame was established by predicting correctly the outcome of all 7 World Cup matches played by Germany + the final. But how revealing are psychic Paul’s results really?

[tweetmeme source=”handresearch” only_single=false] Paul started his ‘track record’ at the Euro football championships 2008 by predicting correctly 4 out of 6 of the matches played by Germany. Combined with the 2010 World Championships Paul’s results look quite impressive: 12 out 14 predictions were to be correct.

Germany’s football results are not surprizing! 

Anyone who follows international football knows that Germany has a pretty impressive track record at World Championships – by fact: Germany won the FIFA World Cup title three times. 

However,  the FIFA World Rankings are much more revealing!  Actually, anyone who choose to bet his money simply on the team with the highest ranking had an excellent result. For, out of the 13 games played by Germany the FIFA ranking correctly predicted the outcome of 11 matches. Exactly the same result as the ‘performance’ of our 8-armed friend!

And the same pattern is true for Paul’s only match where Germany was not involved: Paul correctly choose Spain in favourite of The Netherlands – but the FIFA World Ranking was a reliable predictor again as well!


Did Sea Life fool Oberhausen the footbal world?

No, there is no reaon to blame Sealife for sharing Paul’s predictions. But one can observe a very clear ‘pattern’ in Paul’s predictions: during the 2008 tournament Paul choose always Germany, and basically he continued this pattern during the 2010 tournament – with only 2 exceptions. 

Why did Paul so many times choose Germany? First of all, octopuses are known for their high intelligence, including an excellent short- and longterm memory. So, that could easily explain why Germany was chosen by Paul so many times: in 11 out 13 games.

And on top of that it is likely that Paul made his choices due to certain aspects of the stimuli that were presented to him. But beyond the colors of the German flag, it is hard to find any color pattern in Paul’s choices, exept… that in 13 out of 14 choices made by Paul the lower half of the chosen flag is lighter than the upper half. 

For example:

The most surprizing prediction made by Paul was the loss of Germany against Serbia (2010) and Croatia (2008). Could the flags of Serbia and Croatia provide a ‘clue’ about why Paul was attracted to these flags? You can decide yourself…




Why did Paul chose for Serbia above Germany, but prefered Germany instead of Croatia? The theory of the ‘lighter lower half’ provides an answer. Coincidence? 

Though this theory doesn’t explain why Paul choose  different results for the two matches between Germany & Spain: but Paul predicted only one of those matches correct. Likely an unsolvable puzzle…  

Psychic Paul’s final prediction!

Regarding Paul’s final prediction for the final – if Paul is indeed attracted by the flag with the ‘lighter lower half’, how revealing is it really that Paul correctly choose Spain as the winner of the tournament? The flag of The Netherlands has a ‘lighter UPPER half’.




Remember, according the FIFA World Rankings Spain had to win the tournament!

So, even BEFORE the final match between The Netherlands and Spain is played – we already knew that Paul’s predictions on the matches would not be able beat the expected outcome of those matches according the FIFA World Rankings.

And while ‘flag color’ predicted the correct outcome of 13 out of 14 matches, of course any relationship between flag color and football results … is based on a ‘spurious’ correlation!!!

So, it would be rather foolish to use this color theory presented in this article as a new predictor for the next world champion.

Your thoughts are welcome… by the way, experts say that an octopus has 6 arms and 2 legs!!


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