Tuesday, December 6, 2022

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Bamboo or Bust: Mixed success for giant pandas tasked with World Cup predictions

Tasked with predicting the winners of the World Cup, two giant pandas achieved a 33% success rate in the opening games.

Thuraya and Suhail arrived in Qatar last month as a gift from China to celebrate the Gulf state hosting the tournament.

Since then, they have appeared daily on Qatari broadcaster beIN Sports to crown the winner of each group match.

The selection process involves one of the pandas walking towards two flags taped to a window in its enclosure at Panda House Park in Al Khor City, north of Doha.

Then they sniff each flag before putting their paw or nose on one of them.

This is taken as her prediction and her win rate was four out of twelve for the first four days of the tournament.

The pandas correctly assessed Ecuador beating Qatar in the opening game, England beating Iran, Japan’s surprise win over Germany and France’s comfortable win over Australia.

But the bamboo-loving pundits have also made some wild predictions, including believing Costa Rica would beat Spain. The game saw Spain triumph 7-0.

The Pandas are somewhat hampered by their inability to predict a game will end in a tie – a result that has occurred in four of their first 12 games.

They thought Wales would beat USA but it ended 1-1.

The Pandas’ Thursday picks included wins for Switzerland, Uruguay, Portugal and Brazil.

Qatari sports broadcaster Alkass used the Falcon Libro to predict the winner of the opening match, despite the bird mistakenly choosing Qatar.

Libro was shown flying toward two flags hung on drones.

Elsewhere, a Tokyo-based river otter named Taiyo predicted Japan’s victory over Germany by putting a miniature soccer ball in the right cup.

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