Pope Francis yesterday indicated that he was neutral ahead of the World Cup final
between his native Argentina and Germany, saying the tournament in Brazil had shown the importance of dialogue between different


Argentinean supporters pose with a t-shirt featuring a picture of Pope Francis outside of the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro,
on June 15, 2014 before the start of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Group F football
match between Argentina and Bosnia-Herzegovina. AFP PHOTO / Juan Mabromata

“The World Cup allowed people from different countries and religions to come together. May sport always promote the culture of encounter,” Francis said in tweets in several languages including Latin from his @pontifex account.

The Vatican has said Francis “might” watch the match although it has ruled out the
possibility that he could sit down with his German predecessor Benedict XVI, known to be more fond of theology and piano music
than sports.

Francis, formerly the archbishop of Buenos Aires Jorge Bergoglio, on the other hand has been a fan since childhood and is known to support the San Lorenzo de
Almagro club.

The Vatican has also joined calls for a ceasefire in wars around the world during the final, invoking the tradition of an Olympic truce which was customary in ancient times
to give athletes free passage to take part in the Games.

Meanwhile Former Argentine footballer Diego Maradona said Germany are not “impossible” to beat in the upcoming final match of the
2014 Brazil FIFA World Cup.
“Germany is not impossible (to beat),” a media source cited Maradona as saying. Maradona, who is in Brazil as a football
commentator, was the national team coach at the 2010 South Africa World Cup, when
Argentina lost 0-4 to Germany in the quarter-finals.

In their last match, the Germans devastated Brazil 7-1 in Tuesday’s semi-final at Belo
Horizonte’s Mineirao Stadium.


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