Move over Paul the octopus and Mani the parakeet – there's a new player in the prophetic animal game.
Russia's very own Confederations Cup oracle, Achilles the deaf cat, made his debut on Saturday at a ceremony at the St Petersburg Hermitage Museum.
WATCH THE VIDEO WITH ACHILLES IN THE PLAYER ABOVE
It is claimed that the feline's natural ability "to choose and analyse", coupled with the fact that he cannot be distracted by sounds from elsewhere, make him the perfect exponent of this most bizarre of tournament rituals, in which he must predict the winners of a match by selecting a certain bowl of food.
His first appearance succeeded only by a whisker, though. Achilles needed some coaxing before showing interest in the bowls marked with the flags of Russia and New Zealand, and although he did eventually suggest a preference for a win for the home side, he didn't actually eat anything.
Perhaps he was hinting at a draw; maybe it was just a paws for thought over (just about correct) guess. Either way, a place alongside Paul in the predictor Pantheon is no guarantee just yet.
Russia won the opening match of the Confederations Cup 2-0.
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