It’s been quite a while since the last match between these teams (2001, in Rome), two of the best overall (they can boast of a combined 6 World Cups tally: 4 by Italy, 2 by Argentina). The one no Italian will ever forget was in 1990 when Italy was hosting the World Cup and an Argentina squad led by Maradona defeated us in the semifinals (and then won versus Germany its second World Cup). The semifinal was in Naples and a big part of the local crowds supported Argentina only because Maradona at the time was playing and winning a lot on behalf of the city team, Napoli…..
At the moment only Brazil and Spain are playing better than Italy and Argentina, but who knows what will happen next year for the 2014 World Cup, to be played in Brazil.
What’s the reason for this game on such a weird and hot date, when most Italians are on holiday, you might wonder? Well, it is a very serious and major cause: celebrating Pope Francis, the first pontiff from Argentina and a big football buff.
It’s not clear yet whether Bergoglio will actually attend the game. We know he is a very sober and busy Pope who doesn’t like to show off. Furthermore, he will have a long day in Castel Gandolfo, the pope’s summer residence near Rome, on the 15th.
But it will in any case be a great event. The atmosphere is very relaxed and festive in both teams and there are still plenty of tickets at very reasonable prices.
The game will take place in Rome’s Olympic stadium and will feature Lionel Messi, while Italy’s star Mario Balotelli is injured and shouldn’t be able to play. Kick off at 8:45pm.
If you ever need a good reason to visit Rome in August, when the city is half empty and there are no queues, this is a further one not to be missed. Enjoy the game and….go Italy!