Pope Francis will meet Italy and Argentina players on the eve of their friendly in Rome but will not attend the August 14 game, a spokesman said on Thursday.
Francis, who is himself from Argentina and is known to be a keen football fan, was elected earlier this year as the first ever Latin American pontiff.
"It will be a purely private meeting," Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi told AFP.
The meeting will take place in the richly-decorated Clementine Hall in the Vatican Apostolic Palace.
On a visit to Brazil earlier this month, the pope remarked that the sport was a "national passion" in the country but quickly pointed out that "Jesus offers us something better than the World Cup".