Man vs otter in football World Cup tipping

Last updated 16:54 12/06/2014
ROBERT KITCHIN/Stuff.co.nz

Wellington Zoo's 'Diego Maraotter' takes on Brazil vs Croatia.

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He was legend. Paul the Octopus straddled the 2010 Football World Cup, a match-predicting colossus with a finger, sorry, tentacle, on the pulse of the tournament.

He was taken too soon, in October 2010, soon after correctly picking the winner in 11 out of 13 matches.

Paul's story has inspired our very own Diego Maraotter, see the video above, to take on leading New Zealand football writers Tony Smith and Sam Worthington in a battle of big match wits.

Maraotter's manager, Jen Forrest, carnivore keeper at Wellington Zoo, is confident her furry friend is up to picking the winners of each football match in the World Cup.

Forrest has been reading the sports news to the otters each morning in the lead up to the Cup, so they are well versed in player stats, and Maraotter is prepared to make the big calls.

Tomorrow's first match between Brazil and Croatia will see an upset to the South American side, according to our otter oracle.

Maraotter bolted straight for the Croatian flag, showed a fleeting interest in the Brazilian flag nearby, but returned to the original pick to roll around with it in a fit of otter enthusiasm. A Maraotter shocker?

Dominion Post football writer Sam Worthington lacks Maraotter's conviction. He's picking a draw, saying the hosts are under enormous pressure and Croatia are not a bad side.

Press football writer Tony Smith said an opening round loss always added some piquancy to the tournament but Neymar and co would be too slick. He was picking Brazil to win 2-0.

* Join us each day through the tournament to watch who Maraotter opts for in a battle royale of football wits.

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