Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

The life and times of Paul the Octopus

By Tom McGowan, CNN
Click to play
Remembering Paul the Octopus
  • Paul the Octopus has died aged two and a half
  • He rose to prominence after predicting the outcome of Germany's World Cup matches
  • When Germany were eliminated, he correctly opted for Spain to win the final

(CNN) -- In sport, major tournaments frequently create legends, turning figures who were previously unknowns into global heroes.

The 2010 World Cup in South Africa proved no different, though the superstar in question was not in Spain's victorious 23-man squad; in fact he didn't even play on the hallowed turf of Soccer City.

"Paul the Octopus", from his home at the Oberhausen Sea Life Centre in west Germany, became a phenomenon during the soccer tournament with his seemingly pscyhic ability to predict the outcome of matches, and on Tuesday the famous cephalopod died of natural causes.

The eight-legged sea creature captured the world's imagination when -- by selecting food from boxes representing either team in question -- Paul correctly predicted not just the outcome of his native Germany's matches but also the overall winner.

It began with his pick that Germany would beat Australia, a match in which the Germans were strong favorites. His second selection was far more controversial, predicting Serbia to defeat Joachim Loew's team, which they duly did.

Gallery: Paul the Octopus
Video: Octopus picks Spain to win World Cup
Video: Betting on Paul the octopus

Moving on to Die Mannschaft's final group-phase match, he foresaw their victory over Ghana before correctly backing Germany to overcome England in the last sixteen.

World Cup oracle octopus Paul dies

It was the same story for Paul when he plumped for Germany against Argentina in the quarterfinals, before breaking the hearts of a nation when he predicted Spain's semifinal victory over Philipp Lahm's side.

Even when his home country was eliminated, the underwater psychic persisted, predicting Spain's triumph over Netherlands in Johannesburg in the showpiece's climax.

The true extent of Paul's incredible achievement comes to light when you consider a £10 ($15.80) bet on his selections in Germany's six World Cup matches would have earned £4,071.32 ($6,450) over the duration of the tournament if placed.

After the cephalopod's contribution to their success, the Spanish were understandably grateful, even offering to house Paul in their country and afford him a life of luxury.

Their advances were declined, Paul instead lived out his days in Germany, where he passed away.

He may not have kicked a ball, or even watched a match in South Africa, but few will have a World-Cup legacy which lasts longer than that of Paul, the "Psychic Octopus".