Politico Magaze: Francis v. Benedict, the Soccer Match

It almost seems a divine referendum on the two living popes: the FIFA World Cup final comes down to a battle of skill between Argentina, home of Pope Francis, and Germany, birthplace of Pope Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI.

The world’s press was quick to pick up on the unusual confluence of two living popes—itself a rarity—represented by their national football teams. Memes, cartoons and jokes followed. (My favorite: photo-shopped images of Benedict and Francis in national-team colored skullcaps.) Even though the bookish Benedict has demonstrated no interest in soccer and the Vatican has declared that the match falls after Pope Francis’s bedtime, Argentine fans are adding Pope Francis to their roster.

Read more: