He lives in Kharkiv, has his own Facebook page and his name is Fred. What is more, he correctly predicted Denmark and Germany's Group B victories yesterday. So far, so ordinary – except Fred is actually a ferret.
The predictive powers of Paul the Octopus earned world renown during the 2010 FIFA World Cup and three animals are taking on the challenge of trying to match those feats at UEFA EURO 2012. Citta the Elephant dwells in Krakow Zoo, Funtik the Pig is a guest at the Kyiv fan zone and Fred the Ferret, the hero of our story, resides in Kharkiv Zoo.
You may ask why they chose a ferret in Kharkiv but there is a logical explanation – the Ferrets being the nickname given to fans of FC Metalist Kharkiv long ago. Last year the club's supporters adopted a ferret at the zoo as their mascot. A special open-air cage was built for him and in a poll he was given the name Jorge.
Now Fred is making his own bid for footballing fame. The three-year-old was trained by young naturalists at the zoo, which is Ukraine's oldest, opened for scientific study in 1896. On the eve of the EURO, the zoo's management decided to turn him into a fortune teller.
On Friday when the tournament started, the furry predictor made his first bets. For several minutes he was carefully sniffing fresh beef in two bowls, which were placed next to little flags of Poland and Greece. His refusal to eat from either bowl could mean only one thing – a draw. His identical prediction for the Russia-Czech Republic match proved less accurate but Fred, who has already visited the Kharkiv fan zone at Svodody Square, put that behind him in impressive fashion yesterday.
Some might say his prediction of Danish and German victories was a fluke, but faith in miracles will always be a part of the game – even when a small furry creature is involved.
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