Pope launches appeal that World Cup in Russia helps promote peace
As 32 nations get ready to vie for the World Cup in Russia, Pope Francis greeted players, organisers and football fans who will be following “this event that overcomes all borders.”
“May this important sports event become an occasion for encounter, dialogue and fraternity between different cultures and religions, promoting solidarity and peace between nations,” said the Argentine pope, who is an avid football fan.
He made his remarks in an appeal at the end of his general audience in St Peter’s Square on 13th June.
The 2018 FIFA World Cup was being held in Russia from 14th June to 15th July. It is the first time the quadrennial tournament, which began in 1930, was held in Eastern Europe.
The ball being used in the first match – Russia v Saudi Arabia – had been taken to the International Space Station by a Russian cosmonaut in March and returned to Earth on 3rd June.
This week’s World Cup fixtures:
Thursday 14th June
Russia v Saudi Arabia – 4:00pm
Friday 15th June
Egypt v Uruguay – 1:00pm
Morocco v Iran – 4:00pm
Portugal v Spain – 7:00pm
Saturday 16th June
France v Australia – 11:00am
Peru v Denmark – 5:00pm
Argentina v Iceland – 2:00pm
Croatia v Nigeria – 8:00pm
Sunday 17th June
Costa Rica v Serbia – 1:00pm
Brazil v Switzerland – 7:00pm
Germany v Mexico – 4:00pm
Picture: An item with the national colours of Argentina is thrown at Pope Francis as he greets the crowd during his general audience in St Peter’s Square at the Vatican on 13th June. The pope caught three objects of clothing or flags thrown at him within a span of a few seconds. (CNS photo/Paul Haring).