HARI SREENIVASAN: Unless you are living under a rock, you probably know the World Cup kicked off this past week in Brazil.
But while the action is happening on the pitch as they say, a surprising number of events to celebrate the start of the World Cup are taking the global game, well, underwater.
In Shanghai this week, an aquarium put on what it called the Underwater World Cup. Twenty two fish representing two teams— and there’s even a ref— all swam around a custom built field. Unfortunately, while the fish nibbled at the feed, they were unable to move the quote “ball” into the net and the match ended in a 0–0 draw.
But why ask uniformly colored fish to play soccer when you could simply have a diver put on scuba gear and play underwater in a large fish tank? Well, that’s exactly what happened this week in a Seoul aquarium where a diver performed soccer tricks in front of a banner that read “Go South Korea!”
And in Brazil, a turtle named “Big Head” has been making predictions on who will win by swimming to one side of his tank or the other. And “Big Head” is now 1 and 0 after correctly picking Brazil in its opening match over Croatia.
Of course, underwater animals and World Cup predictions have a storied history. In 2010, an octopus in a German aquarium named Paul became famous after correctly predicting eight World Cup matches in a row, outperforming many soccer analysts.
Also looking underwater for predictions is an aquarium in Japan, where they are not only using their octopus to predict results, but also looking to a group of archerfish and a penguin, which was dressed in a Japan national team uniform for the occasion.
As it turned out, Japan lost two-to-one last night to the Ivory Coast. Meaning all three Japanese animals got it wrong. Unlike the oddsmakers.