Argentina will face France in the final of the 2022 World Cup on Sunday, with the aim of becoming world champions for the third time.
The South American nation is one of the most successful countries in World Cup history, having played in five previous finals – most recently in 2014.
From Mario Kempes to Diego Maradona to Lionel Messi – who is about to have his second (and final) chance to lift the trophy – some truly legendary names have graced the World Cup final in the colors of the Albiceleste. Here, FourFourTwo looking back at all those games…
1930: Uruguay 4-2 Argentina
Let’s start with the terribly start… The very first World Cup consisted of just 13 teams – and with the exception of hosts Uruguay, no country had less distance to cover than Argentina.
The inaugural World Cup final took place at the Estadio Centenario in the Uruguayan capital of Montevideo, just across the Plate River from Argentina. The Albiceleste couldn’t have been closer to home.
And that closeness didn’t matter…in the end, nothing. Argentina came from 1-0 down to lead 2-1 at half time, but three goals in the second half saw Uruguay become the first World Cup winners and their nearest neighbors the first runners-up.
1978: Argentina 3-1 Netherlands (AET)
Argentina would have to wait almost half a century to return to the biggest game in football – and they did it on home soil, facing the Netherlands at the Estadio Monumental in Buenos Aires.
The climax of one of the most controversial World Cups of all time (the Argentine dictatorship used the tournament to spread nationalist propaganda and would have fixed matches in their team’s favour), the match really belonged to Mario Kempes – who finished top scorer with six goals.
The drama was even before kick-off: the Orange threatened to leave the field after Argentina complained about the plaster cast of winger Rene van de Kerhof. The referee forced Van de Kerhof to apply another bandage – and in retaliation, the Netherlands refused to come out for the post-match ceremonies.
As for the match itself, the stalemate was broken shortly before the break when Kempes rounded from close range. And as the clock ticked down into the last 10 minutes of normal time, it looked like that would be enough to secure Argentina their first ever World Cup win.
But the Netherlands let them wait a little longer: Dick Nanninga equalized in the 82nd minute with a header from a cross from – you guessed it – Van De Kerhof, forcing extra time.
There was no reversal, however: Kempes’ shoddy solo effort restored Argentina’s lead just before the end of the first period of extra time – before Daniel Bertoni’s tap (after Kempes’ galloping dribble) sealed victory on the Monumental’s ticker tape-studded field.
1986: Argentina 3-2 West Germany
Eight years and two World Cups later, Argentina had a new hero: one Diego Maradona – and there is no doubt that Mexico 86 was one of the undisputed greats of all time.
That said, while giving them a huge hand to get there, Maradona didn’t quite score in the final against West Germany at the iconic Azteca.
However, Argentina’s captain Fantastic did provide the assist for the most important goal of the match: Jorge Burruchaga’s winner in the 84th minute, eventually beating the Germans after going from 2-0 to a draw just three minutes earlier .
Jose Luis Brown (with his only international goal) and Jorge Valdano scored the first and second goals respectively as the Albiceleste got their hands on football’s most famous trophy for the second time.
1990: West Germany 1-0 Argentina
The Italia ’90 final saw a repeat of the previous final for the only time in World Cup history – and this time Argentina went home disappointed as West Germany retaliated.
Maradona didn’t make the same impression at the tournament as he did four years earlier, not scoring a single goal, but he once again wore the captain’s armband and helped his country to World Cup final number four.
This one was considerably less exciting than the third – although there was quite a dramatic ending, Andreas Brehme’s 85th-minute decision was important at Rome’s Stadio Olimpico.
2014: Germany 1-0 Argentina (AET)
If Argentina had won the World Cup in 2014, it would have been their most memorable victory to date: the tournament was hosted by their arch rivals, Brazil (whom they had been humiliated 7-1 by Germany in the semi-finals). -final).
But it would be another painful one-goal defeat for the Albiceleste, this time inspired by a certain Lionel Messi.
Messi and co. were seven minutes away from taking Germany to penalties in Rio de Janeiro’s fabled Maracana – but then substitute Mario Gotze showed up to break Argentine hearts.
This is as close as Messi has ever come to getting his hands on the World Cup; he gets one last chance on sunday…
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