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Paul the octopus plumps for Spain

Spain will defeat Netherlands in Sunday's World Cup final, according to the latest prediction from Paul the psychic octopus.

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• Cruyff backs Spain to beat Dutch
• Forum: Who will win the final?

To intense media interest on Friday morning, Paul, who has an unblemished record in the tournament so far, picked Spain as the victors in the Johannesburg final and also predicted that Germany will defeat Uruguay in Saturday's third-place play-off.

The decision was welcomed in Spain - who were also tipped by Paul to defeat his home country, Germany, in the semi-finals - with Marca's website leading with the story of how el pulpo Paul predicted that Spain would be campeones.

Paul has achieved global fame after correctly predicting the results of all of Germany's games at the tournament in South Africa. In order to harness his powers, his keepers at Sea Life Oberhausen present Paul with the choice of two glass boxes, both containing a mussel but each bearing the flag of a different country.

The odds of Paul correctly predicting Germany's results so far are 1 in 64 and he proved correct once again when tipping Spain to beat Joachim Low's side in the semi-final, which they duly did thanks to a header from Carles Puyol.

Many German fans were unhappy with Paul's decision to plump for Spain and fearing a backlash, Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luiz Rodriguez Zapatero has joked he will offer state protection to Paul.

Zapatero said: "I am concerned for the octopus ... I am thinking of sending him a protective team."

Spanish environment and fisheries minister Elena Espinosa added: "On Monday, I shall be at the European Council of Ministers and I shall be asking for a [fishing] ban on Paul the octopus so the Germans do not eat him."

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