World Cup 2014: "Citizens suffering from extreme poverty and hunger can be liberated.”
Bread for the World's World Cup series will use the occasion of the Cup to focus on the great advances many of the participating countries and players have made in fighting hunger and poverty. Each day, until the end of the tournament, we will highlight a country, or an individual player, that is making a difference.
By Bianca Brown
Saturday, July 5: Argentina v. Belgium; Netherlands v. Costa Rica
Today, as the World Cup quarter finals draw near, Argentina will face Belgium, followed by the Netherlands v. Costa Rica. After doing battle with the U.S. team, Belgium emerged victorious to compete with Argentina—which enters the match with three wins in the tournament. While both the Netherlands and Costa Rica have been equal in their matchups thus far, this game will decide which team has the most prowess and determination to advance.
Undoubtedly, Lionel Messi, team leader and top scorer for Argentina, will continue to drive his fellow footballers to victory. Keylor Navas, goalkeeper for Costa Rica, will also shoulder the hopes of his team. Both Messi and Navas have teammates who place great faith in their abilities. Even more impressive is that Navas and Messi are both faithfully dedicated to ending poverty and hunger in their home countries.
Having experienced poverty himself, Messi is an avid supporter of programs that fight hunger and poverty, and firmly believes in the importance of soccer as an outlet. “I believe that sports are really important for children…I learned my most important lessons in life through sport,” he has said. “It is where I had my opportunity, and I wish the same for them.”
Similar to Messi, Navas has faith that, one day, no child will know the pain of hunger or the limitations of poverty. Navas has spoken about how his role in the World Cup is in the hands of God, and how he hopes to make the most of his time in the spotlight by giving back to those in need. He believes that “with continual government reinforcement of poverty as a priority, citizens suffering from extreme poverty and hunger can be liberated.”
Keylor and Navas are not alone in their work to help their countries end hunger and support organizations that work to eliminate hunger worldwide—these players and their teammates rely on the support of their fans, both on and off the field.
Bianca Brown is an intern in Bread for the World's communications department and a senior at Georgia's Wesleyan College.
Photo: Lionel Messi at the 2011 Copa America. (Wikimedia Commons)
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