- All is now set for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia as the host country plays Saudi Arabia in the opening game of the competition.
- The emergence of a 'special' animal in the story of Russia 2018 is not novel to the World Cup
Just like the last two editions of the global showpiece, we have a special animal believed by many to predict what is going to happen on the pitch at Russia 2018.
Achilles the Cat has already been kept in in St. Petersburg’s Hermitage museum busy studying the teams heading to Russia this summer’s tourney.
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The furry white elegant with specific cat sense is said to be touted as a cat psychic who will predict the winners and losers of the tournament tomorrow.
Achilles is expected to fill the shoes of its predecessor, Paul the octopus, which became an international celebrity after predicting successfully the winner of the 2010 World Cup correctly.
The cat is one of the many cats to have lived at the Hermitage, once the imperial Winter Palace, Achilles previously predicted outcomes during the 2017 Confederations Cup.
According to India news outfit, the Hindu, Achilles will not be easily distracted owing to the fact that it is deaf by waiting journalists when he makes his predictions by choosing between two bowls of food, each bearing a team flag.
For his training, Achilles, dressed in a red soccer jersey, looks at a chart of the teams and game schedules, before, slightly reluctantly, moving onto an exercise wheel.
“Achilles is now in his place of work, he is preparing for the World Cup and going through the adaptation process,” veterinarian Anna Kondratieva said during a training session at a pet shop near the museum.
“People tend to feed him more than they should. When he came to us he looked like a football, not a cat, so we decided to put him on a strict diet.”
When Achilles is not in training, he can also be found posing for pictures in the museum yard, building a celebrity persona that is about to get a huge lift from one of the world's most-watched sporting tournaments.
This year’s edition of the championship kicks off on Thursday, June 14, with host nation Russia battling Saudi Arabia for their first three points of the competition.
According to the Associated Press, the world football governing body, FIFA in October increased the overall prize money for the tourney to $400 million (£297 million).
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