Now, birds join the race to pick the champion

Shyama was asked on Thursday who among the finalists, Holland and Spain, would lift the FIFA World Cup and was given the choice of two cards. She picked the card on which Spain was written twice.

In Singapore, Mani struck a different note. According to him, Holland will be the winner. The bird, an ‘assistant’ to a roadside astrologer, had earlier predicted Spain-Germany semifinal and all the quarterfinal ties.

Shyama is quite popular among the people of Allahabad, a city thronged by millions of Hindus to worship at the ‘Sangam’ or the confluence of the Ganges, the Yamuna and the mythical Saraswathi rivers. Apart from her handler, who claims Spain’s victory is just one of Shyama’s many correct predictions, the monks of the ‘Sangam’, too, vouch for her accuracy.

“Shyama’s predictions have never been wrong,” claimed Swami Anand Giri, who heads a monastery on the banks of the Sangam. “The bird has made several predictions in the past about the future of those who came to her and they have turned out to be correct. This time, too, it will be. Spain will win,” he said.

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