The World Cup is in its defining stages, and Argentina is dangerously close to the championship game. It would be the first time in 24 years, and with an Argentine Pope at the Vatican.
Coincidence or not, the Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff did not take any chances. She had a very peculiar request for Pope Francis, when she visited him this past February and showered him with gifts.
"With this, should the Pope pray so that Brazil wins the World Cup?”
"If you could pray so that Brazil winds the Cup, I would be so thankful. But, at the very least, remain neutral.”
The Pope picked up the message loud and clear. Several weeks later, in March, he shared his memory of this meeting with a group of Argentinians.
"Not too long ago, I stood here, at the Vatican, with a very important official from Brazil. That person told me they stopped on their way, I don't know where to, but had wanted to greet me. That person wanted to ask me a favor, and told me: 'Only one word: neutralidade. Because the cup is ours.'”
Despite this requests, many argue this neutrality never developed. On the contrary. They question why Swiss midfielder Blerim Dzemiali's headshot hit the goal post, instead of going in.
It wouldn't the first time since his election that a team the Pope supports comes out on top. Case and point, San Lorenzo of Almagro. In December, the team won the country's first division championship. Three days later, they traveled to Rome to give the Pope the trophy.
Argentina's national rugby team also visited Pope Francis in November 2013. Up until then, they lost eight consecutive matches. But after their visit, their luck turned around.