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Octopus Outshines Investment Bank Experts

Paul the Octopus on Friday predicted Spain to win the World Cup Final. That's something the math modelers at investment banks just didn't see coming.

An octopus named Paul sits on a box decorated with a Spanish flag and a shell inside on July 9, 2010 at the Sea Life aquarium in Oberhausen, western Germany. Paul's task is to decide in favour of one of the shells hidden in boxes with the flags of the Netherlands and Spain to act thus as oracle for the upcoming final match of the FIFA Football World Cup between the two countries on July 11, 2010. Paul, the 'psychic' octopus, who had predicted well the result of six German matches earlier in the
Roland Weihrauch | AFP | Getty Images
An octopus named Paul sits on a box decorated with a Spanish flag and a shell inside on July 9, 2010 at the Sea Life aquarium in Oberhausen, western Germany. Paul's task is to decide in favour of one of the shells hidden in boxes with the flags of the Netherlands and Spain to act thus as oracle for the upcoming final match of the FIFA Football World Cup between the two countries on July 11, 2010. Paul, the 'psychic' octopus, who had predicted well the result of six German matches earlier in the

Paul is flawless in his picks to far, contrasting sharply with predictions made by banks ahead of the tournament.

UBS, for example, gave Spain just a 4 percent chance of winning the trophy with their past performance model. The Netherlands, who meet Spain in the final Sunday, had just an 8 percent chance, the bank said.

JPMorgan fared a little better, putting Spain in the final. But it predicted England — which exited in the first knock-out round game — would triumph.

The octopus, considered by some to be the most intelligent of all invertebrates, got the choice of picking food from two different transparent containers lowered into his tank — one with a Dutch flag on it and one with Spain's flag.

Reaction in Spain was swift, with the country's biggest selling sports daily Web site Marca.com running the headline: "The octopus Paul makes us champions."

The container Paul opens first is regarded as his pick. On Friday he wasted no time in diving for the container on the right side with the Spanish flag on it.

Two German television networks interrupted their programming for live coverage of the two-year-old celebrity octopus's picks. Networks in Spain, the Netherlands and elsewhere in Europe also broadcast Paul's decision live.

— Watch the video above to see Paul the Octopus in action.

Reuters contributed to this report