World champions Germany to meet Pope at Vatican


Berlin (AFP) – World champions Germany will be granted an audience with Pope Francis when the team travel to Italy for a friendly international next month, head coach Joachim Loew confirmed on Monday.

Germany play a 2018 World Cup qualifier away to minnows San Marino on November 11, then face Italy in a friendly in Milan four days later.

The German squad will meet the 79-year-old Argentine around the time of the Italy match.

“It’s great that this will be possible,” said Loew in a press conference on Monday to confirm his contract extension until 2020.

“It does not matter which religious ideologies you have – it’s a great thing for everyone when the team gets involved in other things.”

Several of the diverse Germany squad are Muslim, including Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil, defender Shkodran Mustafi, Juventus midfielder Sami Khedira and Manchester City’s Ilkay Gundogan.

The pope is known to be a football fan and is an honorary member of German second division club 1860 Munich.

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