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 cultures.
“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.