ST. PETERSBURG, July 2. /TASS/. Achilles, St. Petersburg’s Hermitage oracle cat, has predicted a win for the Spanish national football team against Switzerland in the quarterfinals of the 2020 UEFA Euro Cup on Friday.
Achilles the cat, a resident of Russia’s State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, is famous for his predictions for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, and is putting his skills to the test once again at the 2020 UEFA Euro Cup.
The quarterfinals match of the European football championship between Spain and Switzerland is scheduled to kick off on Friday in St. Petersburg at 7:00 p.m. local time.
Bowls with cat food are traditionally placed before Achilles next to the flags of national football teams, and the cat makes his choice by eating from one of the two bowls in front of him and in doing so he selects the winner.
Achilles has already delivered correct predictions in this championship for the matches between Italy and Turkey (3-0); Russia and Belgium (0-3); Russia and Finland (1-0); Sweden and Slovakia (1-0); Belgium and Finland (2-0); Sweden and Poland (3-2). However, the oracle cat was wrong, when he predicted a win for Poland in the match against Slovakia – the Polish squad lost that match 1-2.
2020 UEFA Euro Cup
The 2020 UEFA Euro Cup, which was postponed last year over the novel coronavirus global outbreak, runs between June 11 and July 11, 2021, and Russia’s second-largest city of St. Petersburg was picked as one of its venues. It was among the 12 cities initially proposed in Europe to host European championship matches. St. Petersburg was granted the right to host three group stage matches and one of the quarterfinals of the 2020 UEFA Euro Cup.
On April 23, St. Petersburg was granted the right to host three additional matches of the UEFA Euro Cup after Ireland’s Dublin and Spain’s Bilbao pulled out of the organization of the European football championship games citing anti-COVID-19 measures.
The oracle cat
Achilles, the white-furred and blue-eyed cat from St. Petersburg’s Hermitage Museum, started his career as a fortune-teller during the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup. The employees of the museum selected the cat for his analytical abilities and unusual behavior. Additionally, Achilles is deaf from birth, so he does not get stressed at public events. In 2017, Achilles correctly predicted the results of three out of four Confederations Cup matches that took place in St. Petersburg, including the first and final games.
In preparation for the World Cup, Achilles underwent physical training – he worked out on special fitness machines to lose weight and participated in public events to socialize and get used to the attention from the crowd.
Achilles applied his gift during the 2018 FIFA World Cup as well. He made predictions for eight World Cup matches – the opening game in Moscow and the seven games that took place in St. Petersburg. In the first four games, he flawlessly predicted the winners, and correctly predicted Russia’s victory twice. After that, he was named the best oracle of the tournament, but then his predictions ceased to pan out: the cat failed to divine the winning team three times, and his prediction for the match for third place was ambiguous.