World Cup

Paul the Octopus gets memorial

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Paul the celebrated octopus has finally got his tentacles wrapped around a football.

The Sea Life aquarium in Oberhausen on Thursday unveiled a memorial to the World Cup's most unlikely star: A 2-meter (6 1/2-foot) tall plastic replica of Paul clutching a ball in his eight arms.

Aquarium spokeswoman Tanja Munzig said Paul's cremated ashes were placed in a gold-leaf-covered urn inside the ball. Paul died three months ago.

"We acted upon the wishes of fans and created a place of remembrance," Munzig told The Associated Press. "This monument was also built to show visitors just how much people around the world loved Paul."

Paul correctly tipped the outcome of all seven of Germany's games at last year's World Cup, plus the Spain-Netherlands final. He made his predictions by opening the lid of one of two boxes, each containing a mussel and bearing a team flag.

The oversized football that the immortalized Paul sits on is covered with different national flags and also has a small window through which visitors can look at the urn.

In addition, the aquarium created "Paul Corner," which includes newspaper clippings in many different languages that tell of Paul's global fame and exhibits gifts sent to the museum.

A family in Spain sent a glass of mussels in oil as a reward for Paul after he correctly predicted that Spain would win the World Cup, Munzig said. A fan from New Zealand tailored a red, sleeveless football shirt for Paul - with a hole for each tentacle.

As for Paul's successor, a six-month old octopus brought from France and also named Paul, Munzig said it still isn't clear whether he will also try his tentacles at forecasting.

"We're not pushing him into being an oracle against his will, that's for sure," Munzig said. "But if he is going to develop an interest in football and forecasting, we'll be very supportive of his talents."
 

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