Every country in the World Cup can use a bit of psychic energy. And for Japan, which enjoyed a spirited and hard-fought tournament before losing out to Belgium at literally the very last second in the round of 16, that clairvoyant force was an octopus named Rabio.
The octopus was caught by 51-year-old fisherman Kimio Abe in late June. Naturally swept up in World Cup fervor, Abe placed the animal in a pool containing three boxes, all of which symbolized "win," "draw," or "lose." During the tournament's group stages, the octopus used its large, gelatinous brain to accurately predict the outcome of Japan's three games, correctly foreseeing the team's results against Colombia (win), Senegal (draw) and Poland (lose).
But the octopus was also very important to Abe's livelihood, so he sold Rabio on the eve of Japan's fixture against Belgium. Rabio's spirit almost carried Japan to an upset victory though: they took a 2-0 lead in the second half, only to be overcome by a brilliant Belgian attack and a stroke of sheer genius from striker Romelu Lukaku in stoppage time. (Seriously, though, watch the goal -- you'll feel Japan's collective heart sink almost instantly.)
Anyway, Abe did replace Rabio once the original octopus was sold to be chopped up and eaten. But the stand-in oracle didn't know how to predict a soccer game like his predecessor. Before Japan crashed out of the tournament, Abe told The Mainichi: "I hope Rabio's successor will accurately tip the results of all games and Japan will win the World Cup."
Those hopes were all for nought, and now Rabio is probably sitting in somebody's digestive tract.