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Russia will win the first match of the World Cup, predicts Achilles

Want to know who will win the first match of the World Cup? The cat’s out of the bag: it’s Russia.

At least that’s the prediction of Achilles, a cat in St Petersburg reputed to have psychic powers.

Offered a choice of two bowls of food, the white feline hesitated before choosing one with the Russian flag, dismissing Saudi Arabia’s chances of a win in Moscow on Thursday – a relief to the host nation, considered one of the weakest sides in the tournament despite the home advantage.

Achilles, who lives in St Petersburg’s Hermitage museum, is deaf, something his minders say means he will not be easily distracted by onlookers while making his prediction. They did not say whether the sight of the national flags might sway his choice.

The World Cup will be played at venues across Russia until the final on July 15

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