Tokyo (AFP) – Japan’s hopes of winning their opening World Cup fixture on Tuesday have been written off before a ball has been kicked — by a chirpy parrot believed to possess psychic powers.
The grey-feathered tipster called Olivia, who lives at Nasu Animal Kingdom in Tochigi prefecture, north of Tokyo, predicted that Colombia would beat Group H rivals Japan when they face off in Russia, local media reported on Monday.
Olivia, one of several animal psychics to have taken on the extra work in recent years, plucked a tiny Colombia flag with its beak and handed it to a zookeeper after briefly flirting with a third flag that represented a draw, according to Japan’s Sankei News.
“Hopefully he’s got it wrong this time,” zookeeper Nozomi Oikawa told reporters.
“The parrot was hovering for a while so maybe it will be a close game.”
However, the odds are not good for Japan upsetting Colombia in Saransk as Olivia has an uncanny knack for being right.
The 13-year-old bird successfully predicted six out of seven results at the 2015 women’s World Cup and five out of seven at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Almost 9,000 miles (14,000 kilometres) away, a pair of lions at the Santa Fe zoo in Medellin agreed with Olivia and backed Colombia to win — choosing a box made from the Colombian colours over Japan’s, which they tore to pieces.
On the ground in Russia, a psychic cat named Achilles found fame after taking time out from chasing mice at St Petersburg’s Hermitage Museum to successfully predict the host nation would beat Saudi Arabia in their opening game.
But the fluffy mystics have some way to go to match the don of animal psychics — Paul the octopus.
The German-based cephalopod went a perfect seven for seven in predicting the results of Germany’s games at the 2010 World Cup — and then correctly tipped Spain to win the title.