Paul the Octopus backs England bid

Psychic cephalopod Paul the Octopus has become an ambassador for England's bid to host the 2018 World Cup.

The English-born creature living in Oberhausen's Sea Life Centre earned worldwide notoriety during the recent World Cup, in which he correctly predicted all seven of Germany's results in South Africa.

He then also tipped Spain to defeat Holland in the final, with Andres Iniesta's extra-time strike giving the octopus a perfect eight-out-of-eight record for the tournament.

An aquarium in Madrid even attempted to 'sign' Paul following his exploits, following calls for the mollusc to be grilled by angry Germans frustrated by their semi-final defeat to the Spanish.

But now, Paul - born in Weymouth - has decided to focus his attentions on aiding his country of birth's bid to host the World Cup in 2018.

England, Russia, Portugal & Spain and Belgium & Holland are all hoping to stage the global showpiece.

"After his success during South Africa 2010, Paul the Octopus is undoubtedly one of the biggest names in football so news of him becoming an official England 2018 Ambassador is tremendous for the Back the Bid campaign," said John Barnes, a fellow ambassador.

"I predict that huge numbers of people will follow Paul’s lead and Back the Bid, by visiting or texting ‘ENGLAND’ to 62018.

"Since our launch last year, more than a million football fans have officially shown their support, including some of England’s most famous names. With the decision date fast approaching it’s now more important than ever to get behind England 2018."

Nicola Hamilton, manager at the Weymouth Sea Life Centre added: "Paul has spent the last two years of his life in Germany, but he is definitely a proud Englishman and is therefore delighted to put his support behind England 2018.

"We have had a number of football approaches from around the world but Paul was only ever going to choose his homeland.

"With his predicting days behind him Paul is now concentrating on a number of new projects and the England 2018 campaign is something we are sure he feels passionately about.

"Becoming an official ambassador for the bid is an honour for Paul and everyone at the Sea Life Centre."

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