Plans to hold an Italy-Argentina friendly in Rome have fallen through as the proposed 14 August date clashes with an already scheduled match between Argentina and Russia in Moscow.
The Italian Football Federation (FIGC) had invited Argentina to play a friendly in Rome’s Olympic Stadium this summer, in honour of the newly-elected Pope Francis.
The idea was that of Italian coach Cesare Prandelli who had hoped the match could be preceded by an audience for both squads with Pope Francis, a native of Argentina and long-time fan of Buenos Aires-based football team S. Lorenzo.
The last time Italy played against Argentina was in Rome in 2001, a friendly which Argentina won 2-1. Under the captainship of football legend Diego Maradona, Argentina knocked host Italy out of the 1990 World Cup on penalties in a semi-final match in Naples.
It has been reported in local media that Papa Francesco has revealed himself as a Lazio supporter and has requested to attend the upcoming Roma-Lazio match at the Olympic Stadium on Monday 8 April. For security reasons, the Vatican and Italian police have cautioned against the move.