Pope Francis receives Italian football team at Vatican

Italian Football Federation president Gabriele Gravina leads the delegation; Pope presented with the national team jersey.

The meeting between Pope Francis and the Italian football team lasted 30 minutes.   -  AP

Pope Francis received the Italian national football team at the Vatican on Sunday, the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) has said.

The meeting followed the team’s qualification for the UEFA Euro 2020 thanks to a 2-0 win over Greece at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome on Saturday. Gabriele Gravina, the FIGC president, led the delegation and presented the Pope with a national team jersey which the squad wore during Saturday’s contest, according to Efe news.

Head coach Roberto Mancini and the players got the opportunity to talk with the Pope about their visit to the Bambino Gesu Hospital, a tertiary care academic children’s hospital located in Rome. They informed the Pope that they had donated a machine to the hospital which shows tumour cells in the patient’s blood.

‘Symbol of values’

“The national team is a constant symbol of values, a team which people can identify with and take inspiration from,” Gravina told the Pope.

The meeting lasted about 30 minutes following which the Italian team headed to the Acqua Acetosa sports complex to continue its preparation for Tuesday’s Euro 2020 qualifier contest against Liechtenstein.

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