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England appeal

20 June 2014

PA

Lethal touch:  Uruguay's Luis Suarez (left) celebrates with team-mate Edinson Cavani, after scoring the first of his goals in the 2-1 defeat of England, at the Estadio do Sao Paulo, on Thursday evening. England now have to hope that the outcomes of the remaining group games are favourable to them, if they are to progress to the next stage of the competition 

Lethal touch:  Uruguay's Luis Suarez (left) celebrates with team-mate Edinson Cavani, after scoring the first of h...

THE faith of the Church of England does not appear to extend to its football team. Asked to come up with prayers for England's success in the World Cup, the Bishop of Leeds, the Rt Revd Nick Baines, came up with just two words: "Oh God . . ."

It comes in a set of prayers released by the C of E communications office to coincide with the start of the World Cup in Brazil.

Bishop Baines's second prayer is an adaptation of a prayer by St Richard of Chichester (d. 1253), asking that England players "might run more clearly, pass more nearly, and enjoy the game more dearly".

Bishop Baines said: "There are bigger things to pray for around the world, not least in Iraq, Nigeria, and Sudan, to name but three. For the next few weeks at least, the passions and hearts of millions of men, women, and children around the world will be focused on Brazil, where I'm pretty sure there will be lots of prayers being offered up throughout the tournament.

"I know some have suggested it might take too much of a miracle for England to win the World Cup - my hope is that the World Cup would be a reminder of the joy of a nation coming together in a common cause."

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