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World Cup diary - Paul the Octopus predicts Spain victory

Published: 07 Jul 2010 - 07:29:05

The 'psychic' octopus who has successfully predicted the winner of Germany's matches at this World Cup so far, has predicted them to lose tonight's semi-final.

The eight-legged creature called Paul, who was born in Weymouth but now lives in Germany, approached the plastic box bearing the Spain flag live on national television.

However, Paul did - incorrectly - predict Germany to win Euro 2008. For what it's worth, the stray dogs in my back garden selected the Bratwurst slice I placed in one nostril, rather than the segment of Seville orange crammed between two of my toes.

GHANA WELCOMES HOME HEROES

Kokota international airport was yesterday besieged by Ghana fans, who began to arrive six hours before their heroes touched down from South Africa. Many supporters banged drums and danced, as well as waving placards with messages such as "We love you our heroes, you made Ghana and Africa proud".

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DIEGO'S BOYS HUMBLE IN DEFEAT

The Argentina squad have turned down an invitation to the presidential palace, because they felt undeserving of a reception.

National President Christina Kirchner said: "I invited our squad to come to the presidential palace. The players refused because they felt they did not deserve such an accolade but I believe they are wrong because they all deserved it and I will wait for them."

Kirchner also had stunning praise for coach Maradona: "I offer my support because nobody has ever given as much pleasure on the pitch than Diego Armando Maradona gave us".

DEL BOSQUE HINTS AT TORRES SNUB

Vicente Del Bosque has disclosed that Spain striker Fernando Torres may be dropped for tonight's mega semi-final against Germany.

"All strikers go through good and bad runs but he brings his work rate and his personality to the team and he is still our forward," said the national coach. "You should not necessarily take my words to mean that he is definitely going to be starting, but we have full confidence in him".

It sounds like you've contradicted yourself there, Vince.

GERMAN CONFIDENCE SKY HIGH

German confidence is in no doubt.

According to a survey in German newspaper Bild, 83% of readers believe their team will bring the World Cup home.

DUTCH BOOK FINAL SPOT

The Netherlands hung on against a spirited Uruguay side to claim their first World Cup final appearance since 1978. The Dutch took the lead early on, when Giovanni van Bronckhorst scored the goal of the tournament so far, lashing in from fully 35 yards into the top left corner. Diego Forlan levelled shortly before the interval, with a speculative effort from distance which will have Dutch goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg waking up clutching his pillow for months. After the break, Wesley Sneijder restored the Europeans' lead with a goal that looked suspiciously offside. Arjen Robben headed beautifully a minute later, planting the ball onto the inside of the post and in.

Maxi Pereira curled in on 90 minutes after Walter Gargano found him inside the penalty area, to hand the Uruguayans a lifeline. Mark van Bommel was finally booked late on, for dissent. Now for tonight's game.

DSG


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FOOTBALL.CO.UK BLOGGER:Tom Littlefield
Seen as the heir apparent to Jan Molby until an underactive thyroid gland curtailed this youngster’s development, Tom Littlefield will now concentrate on making a “big pitch” (pun) during South Africa 2010. As Barnet’s staunchest Gooner, he is well placed to judge good football. So, while the England team provides your compulsory tournament displeasure, Tom will look to rouse your enthusiasm for the beautiful game (and WAGS) in the oasis of oratory that is his World Cup Diary.

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