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World Cup madness (A World Cup assembly)

To explore football as a metaphor for faith.

by The Revd Guy Donegan-Cross

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To explore football as a metaphor for faith.

Preparation and materials

You will need:

You could split the interview section between two with one asking the questions and the other answering for Lucio.

NOTE: Lucio clearly has a particular and strong faith that you may not share. In common with our usual practice, statements of faith, outside of the words of Lucio, are preceded with phrases such as ‘Christians believe that’, so you may like to preface the interview section with a reminder that this is his story, his very personal faith.


  1. Set up a quiz between two teams of four about the World Cup. Ideally, this should be teachers against pupils. Play football music to introduce the quiz. Use the questions below, asking each team to write down and show the answer before telling them the correct solution.

    Q1. Brazil has won the World Cup five times. True or False? Answer: True

    Q2. When did Italy last win the World Cup? 1982, 1990 or 2006? Answer: 2006

    Q3. How many goals did Pelé score in four World Cup tournaments? 9, 12, or 15? Answer: 12

    Q4. Who were the four semi-finalists for the 1998 World Cup?
    (a) France, Brazil, Italy, England;
    (b) France, Brazil, Croatia, the Netherlands;
    or (c) France, Brazil, Argentina, Germany?
    Answer: (b) France, Brazil, Croatia, the Netherlands

    Q5. What are the most goals scored by one team in a World Cup final tournament game? 6, 8 or 10? Answer: 10

    Q6. France was the first nation to host the World Cup a second time. True or False? Answer: False – it was Italy.

    Q7. How many times has the host nation won the World Cup? 4,5, or 6? Answer: 6.

    Q8. Who did Uruguay play in the first World Cup final in 1930? Argentina, Brazil or Mexico? Answer: Argentina.

    Q9. Brazil has participated in every World Cup final tournament. True or False? Answer: True

    Q10. England beat Germany in overtime in the 1966 World Cup final by a score of 3–2. True or False? Answer: False – it was 4–2.

    Applaud and/or reward the winners.
  2. Tell the pupils you want to talk about Lucio – the Brazilian defender. He has played for Brazil more than 25 times. Show a picture. What’s interesting about Lucio is that he has a strong Christian faith and talks about his faith and his football as being things that motivate (help) him to be a better person. Here are some of the things he has said when interviewed:

    Q. What is your most memorable sporting moment?

    A. Winning the World Cup with Brazil in 2002 in Japan. The first highlight of my career was playing for Brazil for the first time.

    Q. What does your faith mean to you?

    A. Believing in Jesus has brought a total change to my life. Before I knew Jesus, I did not have a disciplined life. I had low self-esteem. I did not have confidence in the things that I did day by day. Today, I want to walk with the Lord and have a purpose for my life. That gives me the discipline to persevere towards my goals.

    Q. What motivates you?

    A. I like to play football and I have a responsibility to my family. Other things that motivate me to keep going are my dream of getting the best for my life and for the club for which I am playing, and now for my country. Jesus also is a big motivation in my family and in my work.

    Q. How important is winning?

    A. The most important thing in a game of football is to give your all and do things in a responsible way. For sure the victories will come, but there will also be defeats. At times in my career, I have been regarded as irresponsible or incompetent for leaving my defensive position in search of a goal. This is due to my strong desire and determination to help my team to win the game.

    Q. How do you cope with losing?

    A. When things don't work out, I don't understand it at the time, but after it is over, I regard it as a work of the Lord in my life guarding me, protecting me and keeping me for the big future blessings.

    Q. You seem to have everything. Why do you need Jesus?

    A. Anyone who thinks that he has everything, and doesn't have Jesus, doesn't have anything. I think the person who has everything is the one who has Jesus. He has happiness and peace. With Jesus in your heart you need have no fear. That is the person who has everything in life.

    I think it's important in the life of a professional football player – and in other professions – to know that there is only one road that is secure. That road is Jesus.
  3. Lucio’s faith is very important to him. He clearly thinks of himself as a player for God– on and off the field. When it comes to trusting in God, Christians believe that it can be a bit like watching a game of football. Some of us may not be on the field at all, and not interested in the game. But some of us may be watching from the sidelines, just to see what is happening. But Lucio and other Christians believe that what God wants most of all is for us trust him enough to be players, to be ‘wearing the shirt’ for him, to be known as players, and to be heading for the right goal.

Time for reflection


Some people like football and some people don’t.

And then there are people who live for football.

Lucio loves his football but he also lives for his faith, his beliefs.

What’s really important in your life? What really matters to you?


Lord God,

You are the goal of all our lives.

Help us to be winners

And to play our game

And to live our lives

For you.



‘Lord of all hopefulness’ (Come and Praise, 52)

Publication date: July 2006   (Vol.8 No.7)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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