The baby pandas were supposed to be China's answer to the deceased football soothsayer Paul the Octopus, who won worldwide fame by correctly predicting the results during the 2010 World Cup.

But Chinese authorities stopped the move, saying "human overexposure would have harmed the pandas", reports Xinhua.

However, Chinese fans soon found a replacement - pet turtles. Pictures were posted online on Sunday showing fans make their turtles pick leaves from a choice of team names written on scraps of paper.

Unlike Paul, these turtles hardly gave correct predictions as they picked England, Japan and Spain as the winners, teams which went on to lose.

Paul, who used his tentacles to choose mussels or oysters from boxes bearing the flags of participating nations, died in October 2010, shortly after the World Cup in South Africa.

However, his worldwide fame lives on. A menagerie of animals tasked with predicting the results joined the 2014 football extravaganza including Swiss guinea pig named Madame Shiva, who successfully predicted Switzerland's victory over Ecuador on Sunday.

The World Cup fever is sweeping over the populous China, whose national team failed to qualify for Brazil.


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