Russia’s football team has failed to chalk up a single victory in eight months but things could be about to improve — according to a supposedly clairvoyant cat who predicted a win for the side in the first World Cup match.
Achilles, a deaf white cat who is the official animal soothsayer for the tournament, yesterday chose a bowl of food bearing the host’s flag rather than that of Saudi Arabia, who Russia will face today evening.
The blue-eyed feline is usually part of a team of dozens of cats that guard Saint Petersburg’s Hermitage museum from rodents, but has taken on a new role for the football event.
“Achilles is already used to the public and shouldn’t be too stressed,” said vet Anna Kondratyeva, who manages the animals.
The cat follows in the tentacle-prints of Paul the Octopus who became a star in 2010 after predicting winners for that year’s World Cup by choosing one out of two boxes containing food.
Others have made a play to be the next Paul — including Swiss guinea pig Madame Shiva in 2014 and British Piranha Pele — but none quite had the mollusc’s foresight.
Earlier in the day the head of the Russian Orthodox Church Patriarch Kirill said he would pray for the national team to give a worthy performance.
The hosts, who take on Saudi Arabia in today’s curtain-raiser, need all the moral support they can get as they come into the event without a win in seven games.
LEAVE A COMMENT Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*
Al Sadd coach Xavi ready for QNB Stars League challenge
Mcleod confident of making magic happen at Doha 2019
Maguire calls for social media clampdown over Pogba racist abuse
United held by Wolves after Pogba’s penalty woe
Suarez who? Carroll admits low football IQ
Juventus gamble on Sarri delivering another style of title
NOCs confident Tokyo can overcome heat, water quality issues
Kohli feels Test Championship the way forward to keep format alive
Waugh wowed by deceptive Archer’s ‘X-factor’