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World champion! Mushroom looks just like the World Cup

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It will probably never amount to more than a comfort prize, but this mushroom may be the closest thing nature has to the World Cup trophy.

The mushroom, which looks exactly like the coveted football prize, was found growing in a valley in Liguria, Italy.

The fungi, an inedible Strap Coral mushroom was found by Claudio Pia, as he was taking a stroll near his home.

It was not until the 47-year-old shopkeeper saw a picture of the FIFA trophy that he remembered his strange find and its uncanny resemblance to the prize.

Claudio, who will be supporting Italy in the tournament this summer, said: ‘I was wandering through the woodland looking for tiny mushrooms to take some macro shots when I came across it.

‘I remember thinking it was a really strange but familiar shape and afterwards when I saw a picture of the World Cup trophy I realised why.

‘It's almost exactly the same. I suppose they have taken inspiration from nature because it looks as though nature invented this shape first.

‘Where I live it's very rare to see a mushroom like this. Nature really is a wonderful thing.’

The cup dwarfs the mini mushroom discovered by Claudio, which stands just one inch high.

The FIFA trophy which stands at 14.5 inches tall was in Italy last month during its 267 day tour and will be in the UK next week from March 12 to March 18.

The World Cup tournament itself kicks off in June in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Last changed: Fri Mar 07, 2014 at 9:29 am

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