VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis is trying to cheer up Brazilian soccer fans after the team's quarterfinal exit from the World Cup.

The pope, an Argentine and an avid soccer fan, noted a preponderance of Brazilian flags on display in St. Peter's Square during his traditional Sunday blessing.

He told the crowd: "I see a lot of Brazilian flags: Have courage! There'll be a next time."

The five-time world champions left the World Cup empty handed after losing to Belgium in the quarterfinals, leaving only European teams contending for the title in Russia.

Francis often meets with visiting national soccer teams, has a collection of gifted jerseys and frequently promotes the value of sports particularly for young people. Argentina was eliminated from World Cup contention in the first of the knockout rounds.