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A house divided as Popes' teams face off in World Cup championship

2014-07-10

Germany against Argentina, the teams from the two Popes' home countries will battle it out for the World Cup title. But, who will end up on top?

"I'm from Denmark so, naturally I'm rooting for Germany.”
 
"I think... I'm going for the Argentinians.”
 
"I'll go for Argentina. Well, for one, Germany  beat the U.S., so I'd kinda like to see some revenge.” FLASH (00:26) "I think it's good to have a South American team versus a European powerhouse.”
 
"Generally, for the very beginning I wanted Germany to win. Argentina, in this tournament, they are not that good, I expected something more.”

The all-time leading scorer in World Cup history, Germany's Miroslav Klose, plays for Lazio in Rome. He's Catholic and has the blessing of Pope emeritus Benedict XVI.

His biggest rival on the playing field will be Argentina's Lionel Messi. He greeted Pope Francis in August 2013, when Italy and Argentina played a friendly match in honor of the Pope. The two team captains, Messi and Buffon, also kicked off a campaign, sponsored by the Vatican, to promote education.

LIONEL MESSI
Captain, Argentina's National Soccer Team
"Soccer lead me to many places, not just with the Argentine squad, also with Barcelona. Soccer is great and I think that it reaches the entire world.”

From the get-go, Pope Francis made clear his passion for soccer, and it's not uncommon for visiting world leaders to give him a jersey from their national squads.

Meanwhile, sports was never as prominent for Benedict XVI, although he also has a vast collection of team jerseys.

Perhaps the one most Germans would like to forget is the soccer jersey Argentina's Javier Zanetti gave the Pope emeritus, during his trip to Milan for the the World Gathering of Families in June 2012.


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