World Cup - International

World Cup contoversy: parakeet picks Dutch

With his spotless record of picking winners at the 2010 World Cup, Paul the Octopus may have grabbed the headlines when he tipped Spain to win Sunday’s final.

But a lifeline came out of Singapore for fans of Holland on Friday when Mani the Parakeet picked the Netherlands to top Spain.

Mani the Parakeet has been telling fortunes with his owner, 80 year-old M. Muniyappan, in the Little India neighborhood in Singapore for five years. Typically, Mani helps people pick lottery numbers or decide when to get married. But this year with the World Cup, Mani has gotten into the business of sport and his owner claims the parakeet has accurately forecast the World Cup’s four quarterfinal games and Spain’s semifinal victory over Germany.

Says Muniyappan of his feathered associate, “He’s a special bird.”

On Friday, Mani crept out of his cage. Before him were two white cards—one with the flag of Spain, the other the flag of the Netherlands—placed face down. Mani picked up one of the cards with his beak and then flipped the card over to reveal the blue, white and red flag of Holland.

Said one customer named Ali of M. Muniyappan and Mani, “I’ve come to him before to know when my luck will change. I believe in him and the bird.

Mani’s did not make everyone who watched him make his choice happy.

“I’m disappointed because I want Spain to win,” a 20-year-old student named Jimmy Wong said. “Now I’m not sure which team to bet on.”

The Fiver, a daily soccer feature in the Guardian, has offered to settle the controversy between Paul the Octopus and Mani the Parakeet with the aid of their clairvoyant animal, Yawn Scoff Belch Snooze Belch Snooze Whizz Snooze Belch Fiver the Sloth.

Said the Fiver,

Whenever we urgently need help making up our minds, we scrawl the various options in congealed blood on a range of purple tins and then just sit back and wait for Yawn Scoff Belch Snooze Belch Snooze Whizz Snooze Belch Fiver to crawl into one of them. He’s never wrong, readers, never ever! Nor, of course, is he very timely. But we’ve laid out the tins, readers, and we fully expect him to select either Spain or Holland by, well, Monday. He’s never wrong, readers, never ever!

Who will win on Sunday, the Netherlands or Spain? Only the future can tell and she’s not talking.

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