Paul the Octopus backs England World Cup 2018 bid

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Paul the Octopus has thrown his weight behind England's bid to host the World Cup 2018 despite having retired from psychic predictions.

During the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, the cephalopod received worldwide acclaim for his punditry as he correctly predicted the outcome of eight consecutive matches, including the final.

Paul made his predictions by opening one of two underwater boxes bearing the rivals’ emblems in order to eat a mussel.

After his uncanny run of success, Paul retired from the role of octopus oracle, but is now appearing in a new video supporting England’s campaign.

Nicola Hamilton, Manager at Weymouth Sea Life Centre, said: "Paul has spent the last two years of his life in Germany, but he is definitely a proud Englishman and is therefore delighted to put his support behind England 2018.

"We have had a number of football approaches from around the world but Paul was only ever going to choose his homeland.

"With his predicting days behind him Paul is now concentrating on a number of new projects and the England 2018 campaign is something we are sure he feels passionately about.

"Becoming an official ambassador for the Bid is an honour for Paul and everyone at the Sea Life Centre."

Paul joins a host of other English celebrities including David Beckham, Prince William, Rio Ferdinand, Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button, Robbie Williams, Noel Gallagher and Sting.

Fellow England 2018 Ambassador, John Barnes, added: "After his success during South Africa 2010, Paul the Octopus is undoubtedly one of the biggest names in football so news of him becoming an official England 2018 Ambassador is tremendous for the Back the Bid campaign.

"I predict that huge numbers of people will follow Paul's lead and Back the Bid.

"Since our launch last year, more than a million football fans have officially shown their support, including some of England’s most famous names.

"With the decision date fast approaching it’s now more important than ever to get behind England 2018."

Paul's backing comes four months before FIFA decides who will host the month-long competition.

England is one of five countries seeking to host the 2018 tournament and one of eight hoping to stage the 2022 event, with the decision to be made by FIFA in December this year at their HQ in Zürich, Switzerland.

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