The 2018 FIFA World Cup is underway, and in addition to goals and excitement on the field, that also means a host of animals looking to carve out a reputation for themselves as accurate predictors of match results.
These creatures will be looking to follow in the tentacle-steps of Paul the octopus, who correctly chose the winners of every match he predicted during the 2010 World Cup in Germany.
Here’s a look at some of some of the four-legged forecasters involved in predicting results at soccer’s showpiece event:
Mystic Marcus the pig
This prognosticating pig has predicted that the FIFA World Cup’s semifinalists will comprise Argentina, Uruguay, Belgium and Nigeria, meaning a first ever appearance by an African team in the semi-finals.
With a modus operandi that involves picking out green apples, this Derbyshire, U.K.-based seer-swine is claimed to hold a prolific record when it comes to predicting the outcome of not just sporting competitions, but major international events as well.
Mystic Marcus correctly predicted Donald Trump’s victory in the U.S. presidential election, the outcome of the Brexit vote and the winner of the 2014 World Cup and Wimbledon tennis finals, the Daily Mail reported.
However, the micro pig’s true sporting allegiance lies with his local soccer team Derby County, according to his owner Juliette Stevens. The BBC reported that the pig correctly predicted the team’s failure to gain promotion from the second-division Championship to the elite English Premier League, among other disappointing results.
Achilles the cat
The opening game of the World Cup between hosts Russia and Saudi Arabia was widely expected to be a tight affair, but Achilles knew better.
Resident of the Hermitage museum in Saint Petersburg, Achilles, who is hearing-impaired, correctly predicted a Russian victory, Euronews reported. The Russians went on to earn a thumping 5-0 victory.
WATCH: Achilles the cat predicts the result of the first match of the FIFA World Cup
The clairvoyant cat also predicted an Iranian victory over Morocco, according to Russian news agency TASS. That prediction also turned out to be legitimate, with a Moroccan defender scoring an own goal in the dying moments of the game to hand Iran a 1-0 victory on Friday.
Achilles’ deafness may aid in his predictive abilities, according to his veterinarian Anna Kondratyeva.
“He’s absolutely unbiased, he’s deaf to any comments from the fans so he probably feels with his heart and a special cat sense,” Kondratyeva told Euronews.
The Iran-Morocco game was the first of eight games scheduled to be played in Saint Petersburg that Achilles will predict, including one of the semi-final clashes.
The cat reportedly garnered a 100 per cent record in predicting the results of 2017 Confederations Cup soccer games in his hometown last year.
Cleopatra the tapir
The city of Nizhny Novgorod will also have its own resident clairvoyant in the form of Cleopatra, a Brazilian tapir who calls the Limpopo Zoo her home.
The pig-like herbivore has predicted that Sweden will defeat South Korea in Nizhny Novgorod’s first game on Monday. Her most high-profile assignment will be a quarter-final match on July 6.
WATCH: Oracle tapir predicts Sweden to win first World Cup match against South Korea
Zoo director Vladimir Gerasimov told Reuters that Cleopatra’s ethnic heritage bodes well for her predictive abilities.
“Because her homeland is Brazil and South America, this animal got the privilege to the divine,” he said.
Nelly the elephant
Easily the largest creature involved in predicting World Cup results is Nelly, an eight-year-old African elephant who lives in the Serengeti Park zoo in Hodenhagen, Germany.
The prophesying pachyderm was given a soccer ball and an opportunity to kick the ball into one of two nets, one marked Germany and another Mexico.
The mammoth landed three of its five kicks into the Mexican goal, signalling a victory for defending World Cup champions Germany over Mexico in their June 17 game in Moscow.
Nelly previously tried to predict the result of Germany’s games at Euro 2016.