THE national side of the Vatican, led by player-manager Pope Francis, has beaten Romania to win a place in the World Cup finals.
The team put four goals past their play-off rivals in the second leg, with His Eminence Cardinal Angelo Amato finishing his hat-trick with an overhead bicycle strike from 30 yards.
It completes a remarkable comeback for the smallest country in the world, which was at the bottom of its qualifying group under former manager Pope Benedict XVI before his shock resignation.
Pope Francis said: “Im confident that with Latin Americas 483 million Catholics rooting for us we can go all the way in Brazil, and if they support any other team they will be cast into Hades and burn eternally.
Pope Franciss emphasis on a slick passing game is a marked contrast to his predecessors tactic of hoofing the ball up from the back while strikers knelt and prayed for God to guide it into the goal.
Opponents claim that Vatican Citys strip gives them the unfair advantage of hiding the ball under their cassocks, and have criticised officials for allowing incense burners in the technical area.
Fanatical Holy SeeBees fan Stephen Malley said: Seeing Franny command the midfield really renews your faith in papal infallibility.
It takes me back to Mexico 86, where we beat West Germany in the final thanks to an absolutely miraculous performance in goal by Pope John Paul II.