“Marcus is the seventh child of a seventh child and apparently they’re gifted with special powers, so maybe that’s where it comes from,” pig breeder Juliette Stevens told Mercury Press.
The eight-year-old micro pig from Derbyshire in the UK was presented with 32 apples marked with flags, and ate all but four of them – leaving Belgium, Argentina, Nigeria and Uruguay as his semi-final picks.
It’s not possible for all four of these teams to progress to the quarter-finals, and the chance of Nigeria fulfilling Marcus’ prediction is considered particularly unlikely.
It’s not the first time Marcus has been called on to predict the outcome of the World Cup – in 2014, Marcus accurately predicted that Germany would take out the title.
The pig’s predictions are at odds with the more methodological approach taken by most analysts, with many tipping the talented Brazilian squad as the competition favourites.
The pig is not the only animal under increasing scrutiny after the World Cup kick off – a cat who lives in the basement of a museum in Russia has been recognised as the official animal psychic of the tournament.
The feline oracle was presented with bowls of food adorned with the flags of World Cup nations – and has “chosen” Saudi Arabia and Russia as his favourites.
In the past, people have looked to a kangaroo, an octopus, lions and even an elephant to predict the outcome of the competition.
But unwilling to let the more exotic animals hog the spotlight, Marcus’ owner has said her pig “has a special place in her heart” and is taking the attention in his stride.
“He’s really chilled out and happy to go and do stuff... he’s got a lovely personality,” Ms Stevens said.