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FIFA World Cup: Pope Francis skipped final to stay 'neutral'

Buenos Aires: Pope Francis did not watch his native Argentina play Germany in the World Cup final as "a matter of neutrality," the Vatican's chief of ceremonies Guillermo Karcher said yesterday.

Pope Francis
Pope Francis 

Francis is known as a lifelong football fan and card-carrying member of Argentine club San Lorenzo, but Karcher said he did not even tune in to see the nail-biting final in Brazil, which Germany won 1-0 in extra time.

"The pope was updated on the World Cup but said he wasn't going to watch it as a matter of neutrality," Karcher, one of Francis's closest associates, told Argentine broadcaster Radio del Plata. "We kept him informed play by play. We're happy and continue to support the team."

Karcher, who is also Argentine, worked with the pope -- then named Jorge Bergoglio -- when he was archbishop of Buenos Aires.

The pope stuck to the neutrality principal ahead of the match, limiting himself to a comment about the importance of intercultural exchange on Twitter.

"World Cups bring about the encounter of people from different nationalities and religions. May sport always promote a culture of togetherness," he wrote on his @pontifex account.

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