Euro 2012 Diary: Pope's native pride put aside for Italy

 

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The Independent Football

Pope Benedict XVI set aside the disappointment of his native Germany losing to Italy in Thursday's semi-final and congratulated the Italian President Giorgio Napolitano.

A spokesman for the 85-year-old said: "As Bishop of Rome, Benedict XVI shared the joy of his faithful and asked his Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone – who is also a football fan – to 'convey his congratulations' to the Italian team."

The Pope's predecessor, Poland-born Pope John Paul II, was a well-regarded goalkeeper in his youth.

Ferdinand: Youth hold England key

Rio Ferdinand thinks there will be room for England optimism in the future after the likes of Danny Welbeck and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain impressed at Euro 2012.

And the Manchester United defender wants more faith to be placed in younger players during qualification for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. "I think it is about young players who will be introduced and it will be good to see them go on and have responsibility in the team," he said.

"The manager now has two years and hopefully we can improve but you can see positives."

Klose shelves talk about retirement

Miroslav Klose says that he doesn't think he will retire from international football and is hoping to avenge Germany's defeat by Italy.

The 34-year-old, who fought fiercely with Mario Gomez to lead the line throughout the competition, said: "It's hard to decide now, but I can imagine playing on for two more years to make amends in 2014."

Klose has scored 64 goals in 121 appearances for Germany.

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