Messi Beats Psychic Cat Achilles to Qualify for WC Knockouts

Animal oracle Achilles the cat has been predicting World Cup 2018 matches – and he pegged Argentina to lose?

Updated
FIFA World Cup 2018
4 min read
Achilles ponders over the prediction for the Group D match between Argentina and Nigeria
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Achilles the “psychic” cat has been in fine form this season. No, he hasn’t been on the pitch yet, but this is one armchair pundit who has been highly successful at predicting the outcomes of games in this World Cup that has been full of upsets.

A native of Saint Petersburg, where he lives in the Hermitage Museum, Achilles has been trying to emulate Paul the Octopus’ wild popularity when the eight-tentacled wonder successfully predicted Spain’s win in the 2010 World Cup. The snow-white feline attempts to pre-determine the winner of all World Cup games that take place in the city.

Achilles tested his mettle at last year’s Confederations Cup, which Russia hosted, and managed to get three of his four predictions right. He also kicked off the World Cup by predicting Russia’s win against Saudi Arabia in the opening game.

Given the opportunity to try his paws at the four matches that St. Petersburg has hosted in the Group Stage, Achilles proved to be most prescient. He predicted Iran’s win over Morocco - and escaped with a victory himself after a stoppage time own goal gave the Islamic Republic the result.

Achilles method is to choose from one of two bowls of cat food
Achilles method is to choose from one of two bowls of cat food
(Photo: YouTube screenshot)

His second attempt was also successful, and featured another Russian win. The host country was tipped by the animal oracle to win against higher-ranked Egypt - and notwithstanding a consolation goal by Egyptian talisman Mohamed Salah, they managed to pull off the feat.

The paw-printed nameplate just adds a homely feel to the proceedings, and after all, Achilles must recognise his own flag
The paw-printed nameplate just adds a homely feel to the proceedings, and after all, Achilles must recognise his own flag
(Photo: YouTube screenshot)

After going three for three, even Achilles’ luck must be running out, right? Not at all - the cryptic cat picked Brazil to win against Costa Rica, and Neymar and Co. left it very late to prove him right, with two stoppage time goals

That is one satisfied face. Fortunately, Brazil repaid Achilles’ confidence in them
That is one satisfied face. Fortunately, Brazil repaid Achilles’ confidence in them
(Photo: Twitter screenshot)

All that remained was the final game, and definitely the most looked forward to - Argentina vs. Nigeria. The situation was dire for the Lionel Messi’s team. They needed a win to qualify for the next round and should the feline fortuneteller pick their bowl, it would be a huge shot in the arm for a struggling team - with the best player in the world or not.

And who would the cat pick? Well, he went ahead with the upset brigade as he picked Nigeria to triumph and go through to the next round, with 2014 finalists Argentina eliminated at the first hurdle!

Dare anyone challenge him in not going 5-for-5 in the group stages?
Dare anyone challenge him in not going 5-for-5 in the group stages?
(Photo: Reuters)

Well, unfortunately for the resident psychic, the aforementioned best player had other plans. Messi started the scoring in the in 14th minute for the Albiceleste, and even after Nigeria equalised through a 51st minute penalty, Marcos Rojo converted a beautiful cross into the box in the 86th minute for his third goal in national colours - and a last gasp Argentina win.

And so, the poor cat was left out to dry - as was Nigeria, who were eliminated at the group stage for the 3rd time in their last four World Cup appearances.

“Meowza! I got it wrong?!”
“Meowza! I got it wrong?!”
(Photo: AP)

Achilles now ends the group stage with a respectable four correct predictions out of five, and even Paul the octopus who he is trying to emulate has a couple of errors in his legendary run. Although to be fair to the cat, on his day, Messi can simply defy fate and chase after his own “destiny” : a World Cup win in his country’s colours.

(For complete FIFA World Cup 2018 coverage, click here to visit our special WC page.)

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