Asian Cup: Former Barcelona midfielder Xavi correctly predicted Qatar would win

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Paul the octopus.Achilles the cat.Mystic Marcus the pig.

For so long, our animal friends have been the go-to when it comes to predicting results at major football tournaments.

But now there is a new expert in town – former Barcelona and Spain midfielder Xavi.

At the start of the 2019 Asian Cup, not many people expected Qatar to even reach the final, let alone win it. They were, after all, competing with the likes of four-time champions Japan, and a South Korea side featuring Tottenham forward Son Heung-min.

But their 3-1 win over Japan in Friday’s final had one man rubbing his hands together in glee – and no doubt thousands of people wishing they had followed his tips.

During an appearance on Qatari news channel Al Kass on 30 December, Xavi predicted Qatar would win the Asian Cup.

The 39-year-old, who plays for Qatari club Al Sadd SC, also correctly predicted seven of the eight teams that reached the quarter-finals in the United Arab Emirates – his only wrong move selecting Iraq ahead of Vietnam. He also correctly picked three of the four semi-finalists.

Many laughed. One person posted precisely 139 ‘laughing face’ emojis on Twitter in response. Who’s laughing now?

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