Messi's cabal before playing the final?
- Argentina arrived in Qatar as one of the great favorites to win the World Cup title, but had an unexpected setback in its debut against Saudi Arabia.
But he got back on track, reached the final and won an agonizing victory in the final against France to get the long-awaited third place, with a historic Messi, a team —La Scaloneta— that marked an era and unprecedented joy —with a good dose of suffering—for a team and a country that needed it.
The team led by Lionel Scaloni won the final against France, with an offensive and very effective game, but above all with a lot of passion, with an impetus unmatched by any team.
It was the consecration of Lionel Messi, now widely considered the best player in history and with the title he lacked to frame an unparalleled career, as the leader in all brands for any Argentine and the holder of numerous world records.
Argentina, three times champion and three runners-up
A historic host of the World Cups from the very beginning of the competition (it was runner-up in the first World Cup held in Uruguay in 1930), Argentina won the World Cup three times: as host in 1978, led by Diego Maradona in Mexico in 1986 and now Messi led the Albiceleste to the third in Qatar 2022.
In addition, he was runner-up three times: 1930;
in Italy 1990 and in Brazil 2014, both finals lost to Germany 0-1.
The South American team played 18 of the 22 World Cups that have been played so far: it was only absent in France 1938, Brazil 1950, Switzerland 1954 and Mexico 1970.
Below we tell you how Argentina has fared in each of the World Cups in which it participated.
These have been the 8 historical matches of Argentina in the Soccer World Cups
The first World Cup match was held in Uruguay in 1930, at a time when football was beginning to grow all over the world.
And, of course, the organization of that tournament was far from the shows we are used to in today's globalized world.
With only 13 participants, Argentina was one of the great cheerleaders and reached the final, in which they lost to local Uruguay 4-2, in a match that had them on top of the scoreboard after the first half.
In total, the Argentine team played 5 games, with 4 wins and one loss.
He converted 18 goals and received 9. He had the top scorer of the tournament, Guillermo Stábile, who scored 8 goals.
July 30, 1930: Uruguay scores another goal during the FIFA World Cup final against Argentina played in Montevideo, Uruguay.
Uruguay won the trophy and the match 4-2.
The first World Cup held in Europe once again had Argentina among the participants, although with a totally different result from that of the opening event.
This time, 16 countries competed in the second World Cup in history, which was marked by the difficult political moment the world was experiencing, with the rise of Nazism in Germany and Fascism in Italy, in what would be the prelude to the Second World War.
The tournament was played directly with knockout rounds, and Argentina, which presented a team made up of amateur soccer players, fell to Sweden 2-3 in their only appearance.
Sweden 1958 meant the return of Argentina to the World Cups, after 24 years of absence (it did not participate in France 1938, Brazil 1950 and Switzerland 1954; in the 40s there was no competition due to World War II).
Argentina traveled to Europe with a star-studded team that dominated the continent.
But the results were not as expected, they suffered an unexpected defeat against Czechoslovakia (1-6) and finished last in their group and eliminated in the first phase.
That tournament is remembered for Argentine soccer fans as "The disaster of Sweden."
Argentina played three games with a single win (3-1 against Northern Ireland) and two losses (1-3 against Federal Germany and the aforementioned win against Czechoslovakia).
Brazil was the great champion of that tournament after defeating the host in the final 5-2.
South America received the World Cup again after two consecutive editions played in Europe, and Chile was the host for the first time.
Argentina arrived with few expectations, hit by what had been the failure four years before.
And although the performance was superior to what happened in Sweden, the Albiceleste team could not get past the group stage.
A goalless draw against Hungary in their debut, a 1-3 defeat against England and a 1-0 win against Bulgaria at the end condemned Argentina to elimination on goal difference, as they achieved 3 points, the same quantity than England, which finally advanced to the phase together with Hungary.
Brazil was once again the champion and the tournament had the particularity of having 6 scorers.
The "inventors of soccer" received the World Cup in 1966, with the expectation of winning the trophy for the first time in its history.
And Argentina arrived in the middle of a tumultuous internal organization process.
With great figures at the local and South American level, the Albiceleste team managed to advance to the stage for the first time since 1930, in a group in which they finished second.
Two wins against Spain and Switzerland and a goalless draw against West Germany showed the South American team with the concrete possibility of once again being the protagonist in the World Cup.
Of course, in the quarterfinals they had to face the hosts, who were left with the 1-0 victory with a goal scored just 12 minutes from the end of the game.
That meeting remained in the memory due to the expulsion of the captain of the Argentine team, the midfielder Antonio Rattin.
England was finally the champion of the tournament after defeating West Germany 4-2 in the final.
Geoff Hurst scores during England's World Cup quarter-final against Argentina at Wembley.
July 23, 1966. England won the match 1-0.
(Photo by Central Press/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Argentina failed to qualify for the 1970 World Cup in Mexico, and only returned to the competition in Germany, in 1974. The tournament would end in another resounding failure for the South American team.
Argentina raffled the group stage on goal difference, which this time favored it.
The albiceleste team lost 2-3 against the then powerful Poland, drew 1-1 with Italy and thrashed Haiti 4-1.
That bulky victory allowed him to have one more goal than the Italians and advance to the second phase.
There, Argentina ran into the power of the "Clockwork Orange" from the Netherlands, who thrashed it 4-0 in the first match.
A new 1-2 defeat against Brazil and a 1-1 draw against Democratic Germany would end up sealing the fate of the Albiceleste team, which finished last in its group in the second phase.
Finally, Federal Germany would keep the title after beating the Netherlands in the final by 2 to 1.
Argentina 1978: for the first time, world champion
And the great celebration arrived.
Argentina, which was going through a difficult moment in its institutional life since it was governed by a military dictatorship that had taken power two years before, was the host of the 1978 World Cup. And it did not let the opportunity pass.
The team specially prepared to be the protagonist of the tournament, with an organization that had broken the improvisation of previous years.
The coach César Luis Menotti took over his position in 1974, with an offensive and showy game proposal that he had shown in the title achieved in 1973 directing Huracán from his country.
The Argentine team began their World Cup journey with a 2-1 victory against Hungary in Buenos Aires, within the framework of Group 1, with goals from Luque and Bertoni.
Another win by the same result against France, this time with goals from Passarella and Luque, put the host in an unbeatable position for the second round.
However, the 0-1 defeat against Italy, at the end of the group, left the team led by Menotti in second place and forced him to move his home to the city of Rosario, in the province of Santa Fe.
The second round began with a 2-0 victory against Poland with two goals from striker Mario Kempes, who would be decisive in the tournament from then on.
The second date faced none other than Brazil, which had beaten Peru 3-0 at the start of the second round.
The 0 to 0 left the definition open for the last day.
There, as Brazil had already defeated Poland 3-1, Argentina faced Peru forced to get a win to reach the final.
And boy did he succeed: it was a 6-0 victory with two goals from Kempes, two from Luque, one from Tarantini and another from Houseman.
Argentina, after 48 years, once again reached a World Cup final.
Mario Kempes (left), who has just scored his second goal, celebrates in front of forward Daniel Bertoni and Dutch defenders Wim Suurbier (on the ground) and Ruud Krol (facing the camera) on June 25, 1978 in Buenos Aires during extra time of the soccer World Cup final between Argentina and the Netherlands.
(Photo: STAFF/AFP via Getty Images)
The Netherlands, who had eliminated it with a landslide four years earlier, was the rival in the final, which was played at the Monumental stadium in Buenos Aires.
Despite not having Johan Cruyff, its greatest figure, the European team was, by level and continuity, the favorite to win the World Cup, which had been denied in the previous edition.
Argentina started winning with a goal from Kempes in the 38th minute, but striker Nanninga equalized for the Netherlands with 8 minutes remaining in the match, which had to go into extra time.
There, Argentina became strong and with another goal from Kempes in minute 105 and one from Bertoni, in minute 115, they achieved the victory that gave them the first world title in their history.
As if that were not enough, they had the tournament's top scorer, Mario Kempes, who scored 6 goals and was also chosen as the best player.
Argentina would arrive at the 1982 World Cup in Spain with several particularities: for the first time it was the defending champion, with which it appeared among the favorites to win the tournament.
In addition, the championship coincided with the end of the Malvinas war.
As if that were not enough, the Spanish courts saw the World Cup debut of a midfielder named Diego Armando Maradona.
The tournament did not start well for Argentina, which fell 0-1 to Belgium on its debut.
However, the victories against Hungary (4-1, with two goals from Maradona, the first he would score in the World Cups) and against El Salvador (2-0) allowed the South American team to be one of the two classified in Group C behind Belgium.
That second place determined that Argentina would play in the second round against none other than Italy (the champion) and Brazil, and there was little they could do.
In Barcelona, they lost 1-2 to the Europeans, while three days later, they lost 1-3 in the South American classic, in which Maradona was sent off.
In this way, Argentina was eliminated and the successful cycle of César Luis Menotti concluded, which gave him the first world title.
Mexico 86, glory again for Argentina
The World Cup in Mexico played in 1986 is burned into the hearts of Argentine fans.
It is that the Aztec lands saw the best Diego Armando Maradona, who scored the best goal in World Cup history and led Argentina to its second (and last, so far) world title.
Mexico became the first country to host the World Cup twice.
The original venue of the tournament was Colombia, but in 1983, FIFA replaced it due to the impossibility of the country to meet the established requirements.
The championship also changed its form of realization with the dispute of knockout phases from the round of 16.
Argentina won Group A after their wins against South Korea (3-1) and Bulgaria (2-0) and the draw against Italy (1-1).
In the round of 16, they had to face the tough Uruguay in the Río de la Plata classic.
It was a difficult 1-0 win.
On June 22, 1986, the Azteca stadium in Mexico City witnessed one of the most memorable matches in World Cup history.
Argentina and England were facing each other for a place in the semifinals, with the recent Falklands War raging.
After an even and goalless first half, the second period was left for posterity.
First, Maradona scored the first Argentine goal with his hand, in the goal known as "The Hand of God."
But minutes later, to make it clear that he was the best player on the planet, he added the score with what is considered the best goal in World Cup history.
Finally, Argentina won 2-1 and reached the semifinals.
After the 2-0 victory with two goals from Maradona against Belgium, Argentina qualified to play its third World Cup final.
And it was a 3-2 victory against Federal Germany, with which the team led by Carlos Salvador Bilardo won the precious trophy.
Mexico 1986 was, without a doubt, the World Cup for Diego Armando Maradona, who won the Ballon d'Or for the best player of the tournament.
Diego Maradona celebrates with the World Cup in Mexico 1986. (Photo: Mike King/ALLSPORT)
Argentina arrived at Italy 1990 as the last champion, but under different conditions than four years before.
With some casualties compared to the last World Cup and with Diego Maradona in poor physical condition, Bilardo's team began their journey with an unexpected defeat against Cameroon, in what was one of the historic surprises.
Argentina recovered against the Soviet Union with a 2-0 victory, in a fateful match for goalkeeper Nery Pumpido, who suffered a fracture and said goodbye to the tournament.
In the last game, the South American team began by winning against Romania, which minutes later tied and "condemned" Argentina to qualify for the round of 16 but as one of the best third parties in the group stage.
That position matched him against none other than Brazil, who had won all three of their group stage matches.
After a first half with a total command of the "canarinha", Maradona rubbed the lamp with 10 minutes left to finish the match, leaving Claudio Canniggia alone in front of the goalkeeper, the blond striker did not fail and gave him the victory and the classification to the quarterfinals.
It was another historic day for the memory of the Argentine fan.
In the quarterfinals, penalties gave Argentina the qualification against Yugoslavia, after a goalless draw during regular time.
In the semifinals, the team led by Carlos Salvador Bilardo faced the locals, who reached that stage by winning all their matches and without conceding a goal.
But the "mystique" of the Argentine team was present at the San Paolo stadium in Naples, Maradona's "second home".
After equalizing 1-1 in regulation time, goalkeeper Sergio Goycoechea became a giant on penalties and qualified for the final, again against Germany, like four years before.
The rematch with the Europeans would be fraught with difficulties for the Argentine team, which reached the decisive match with several injured and suspended, including Claudio Paul Canniggia, the star of Argentina in the World Cup.
Argentina held on as long as they could, but with 5 minutes remaining to complete the regulation 90 minutes, Mexican referee Edgardo Codesal charged a controversial penalty that defender Andreas Brehme exchanged for a goal.
It was the end of the Argentine dream of winning its third World Cup, and Maradona's tears after the definition traveled the world.
Diego Maradona cries during the 1990 World Cup award ceremony after Argentina was defeated by West Germany 0-1 in the final on July 8, 1990 in Rome.
(Photo by OMAR TORRES/AFP via Getty Images)
United States 1994
Argentina reached the World Cup in the United States after winning the playoffs against Australia, in a series that meant the return of Maradona to the national team, from which he had moved away after the World Cup in Italy and the departure of Bilardo from the technical direction.
But the low level of the team, which suffered the historic defeat against Colombia (0-5) in Buenos Aires, on the last day of the qualifiers, forced the new coach, Alfio Basile, to summon him for the playoffs.
Maradona would be the great protagonist of the tournament, but not because of his football level.
After a 4-0 win against Greece in their debut in Group D, with a great collective performance and an unforgettable goal from Maradona, Argentina defeated Nigeria 2-1, confirming their status as favorites for the title.
But that meeting meant a hard blow for the South Americans, since Maradona tested positive for doping control, for which he was expelled from the competition.
Argentina, who had shown a great level in the first two games, felt the blow: they lost 0-2 to Bulgaria at the end of the group and suffered an early elimination in the round of 16 at the hands of Romania, one of the great surprises of the tournament. , who beat him 3 to 2. Diego Maradona's story with the Argentine team shirt came to an abrupt end, in the least desired way.
The last World Cup of the 20th century, played in France, would be the first for Argentina of the post-Maradona era, who had retired from professional soccer in mid-1997.
Led by Daniel Passarella, champion as a soccer player in 1978 and 1986, Argentina sought to recover its brilliance and once again establish itself among the favorites.
After winning all three of their Group H matches (1-0 to Japan, 5-0 to Jamaica and 1-0 to Croatia), Argentina clashed with none other than England in the round of 16.
And after an emotional 2-2 draw during regulation time, the South American team advanced to the quarterfinals on penalties.
There they would collide with the Netherlands, a tough stumbling block that meant the end of the Argentine journey in France.
The European team won 2-1 in a very even match, and advanced to the semifinals.
Korea-Japan 2002: a painful and historic blow for Argentina
Led by Marcelo Bielsa, Argentina reached the World Cup organized jointly by South Korea and Japan as one of the great favourites, after finishing first in the South American qualifiers, with a team that showed a high level of football.
However, the first World Cup of the 21st century and the first to be held in Asia would mean a hard and historic blow for the South American team, which could not get past the group stage.
Argentina's striker Gabriel Batistuta is comforted by a FIFA official as he leaves the pitch after the Sweden/Argentina match in the first round of Group F of the 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea-Japan, June 12, 2002. at Myagi Stadium.
(Photo: Odd Andersen/AFP via Getty Images)
Argentina began by winning 1-0 in their Group F debut against Nigeria, but a 1-0 defeat against England on the second day forced them to win the last game against Sweden to advance to the round of 16.
Despite widely dominating the game against the Europeans, the Albiceleste team barely managed to equalize in one goal, with which they were eliminated for the first time in the group stage since 1962. It was the end of the cycle of historical players such as the goalscorer Gabriel Batistuta and Claudio Paul Canniggia, who was on the squad but did not play minutes.
As if that were not enough, Brazil was the great champion of the tournament after beating Germany in the final.
The World Cup was held again in Germany in 2006, and Argentina arrived with renewed airs, led by coach José Néstor Pekerman, who had directed the youth teams with which he had won several titles with resounding success.
With Juan Román Riquelme as a great figure, and with a very young Lionel Messi, who was playing his first World Cup, Argentina had a great group stage in which they finished first with 7 units, after 2 wins (against the Ivory Coast, 2-1, and against Serbia 6-0) and a goalless draw against the Netherlands.
In the round of 16, Argentina had to resort to extra time to defeat the tough team of Mexico, who had started by winning the tournament.
Finally, it was a 2-1 victory for the South Americans.
The albiceleste dream would come to an end in the quarterfinals against local Germany, who won on penalties after a draw in a goal during regulation time.
South Africa 2010
Four years later, the World Cup came to the African continent for the first time, with South Africa as host.
Up to there Argentina arrived in search of the lost gold, with none other than Diego Maradona as technical director.
The star took office in 2009 and achieved an agonizing classification in the South American qualifiers.
With a brilliant Messi at Barcelona, the Argentinian dream of shouting champion at the hands of its two best footballers in history was on the surface.
But the "curse" of the quarterfinals would again be present.
Diego Maradona y Lionel Messi, durante el partido de octavos de final de la Copa Mundial de la FIFA Sudáfrica 2010 entre Argentina y México en el estadio Soccer City el 27 de junio de 2010 en Johannesburgo, Sudáfrica. (Foto de Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
Argentina clasificó con puntaje ideal en el Grupo B, tas derrotar a Nigeria (1 a 0), Corea del Sur (4 a 1) y a Grecia (1 a 0). Como cuatro años antes, en octavos de final chocaría con México, a quien, esta vez, lo derrotaría durante los 90 minutos reglamentarios por 3 a 1. Y, como en 2006, Alemania lo esperaba en cuartos de final.
A pesar de llegar a esa instancia con cuatro triunfos en igual cantidad de partidos, el juego de Argentina no terminaba de conformar. Y los europeos se lo hicieron sentir: tras ponerse rápidamente en ventaja, Alemania redondeó un 4 a 0 para eliminar al equipo de Maradona y Messi, quien, extrañamente, se iría de Sudáfrica sin marcar goles.
Las tierras africanas vieron gritar campeón a España por primera vez y a Diego Maradona despedirse para siempre de su selección.
Brasil 2014: Argentina, de vuelta a la final
El Mundial volvió a Sudamérica en 2014 para disputarse por segunda vez en su historia en Brasil, quien, por razones obvias, era el gran favorito para quedarse con el título.
Argentina llegó con un equipo bien construido por Alejandro Sabella, quien había sido ayudante técnico de Daniel Passarella en Francia 1998. Y tenía a un Lionel Messi maduro, que buscaba mostrar su verdadero nivel en su tercera Copa del Mundo. Y no defraudaría.
Argentina superó la fase de grupos con tres triunfos (2 a 1 ante Bosnia; 1 a 0 frente a Irán y 3 a 2 ante Nigeria), pero el nivel no conformaba. Messi fue la gran figura de esa primera fase al anotar 4 goles.
Pero a partir de octavos de final, el conjunto albiceleste cambió su estilo de juego, se hizo más fuerte en defensa y, con un juego menos vistoso pero más efectivo, avanzó hacia la final. Sucesivamente eliminó a Suiza (1 a 0, gol de Ángel Di María), a Bélgica (1 a 0, gol de Gonzalo Higuaín) y a Países Bajos por penales, tras igualar 0 a 0.
El seleccionador Alejandro Sabella de Argentina mira a su equipo después de ser derrotado por Alemania 1-0 durante el partido de la final de la Copa Mundial de la FIFA Brasil 2014 entre Alemania y Argentina en Maracaná el 13 de julio de 2014 en Río de Janeiro, Brasil. (Foto de Martin Rose/Getty Images)
En la final, una vez más, se enfrentaría a su "bestia negra" Alemania, que venía de eliminar nada menos que a Brasil con una goleada histórica por 7 a 1 en el estadio Maracaná de Río de Janeiro.
Esa final fue, tal vez, el mejor partido de Argentina en todo el torneo: logró anular la potencia ofensiva de los europeos y creó varias situaciones de gol que no pudo concretar. Y en la prórroga, en el minuto 112, Mario Götze le dio el cuarto título a Alemania, dejando a Argentina con las manos vacías.
Ni siquiera el Balón de Oro de la FIFA como mejor jugador del torneo pudieron aplacar las lágrimas de Lionel Messi que, plagado de títulos, veía nuevamente frustarse su sueño mundialista.
Sin Alejandro Sabella, y ya sin Julio Humberto Grondona, presidente de la AFA durante 35 años, quien falleció días después de la final en Brasil, Argentina llegó al Mundial de Rusia en medio de una crisis institucional, con tres entrenadores en cuatro años, y logrando la clasificación en la última fecha de las eliminatorias.
Con Jorge Sampaoli como entrenador, Argentina sufrió el torneo desde el debut mismo, cuando apenas igualó 1 a 1 ante la debutante Islandia, con penal errado de Lionel Messi incluido. En el segundo encuentro del Grupo D, el seleccionado sudamericano sufrió una dura derrota 0-3 ante Croacia, que lo dejó al borde de la eliminación. Sin embargo, un agónico triunfo por 2 a 1 ante Nigeria, con un tanto de Marcos Rojo a falta de solo 4 minutos para finalizar el encuentro le dieron el pasaje a la siguiente ronda.
En octavos de final debió cruzarse nada menos que contra Francia, que sería el campeón del torneo. En un partido cambiante, Argentina llegó a estar arriba en el marcador por 2 a 1 en el inicio del segundo tiempo, pero en una ráfaga de goles, los europeos se colocaron 4 a 2. Argentina descontó sobre el final y casi iguala en la última jugada del encuentro, pero finalmente quedó eliminado. Fue un duro golpe (uno más) para la generación liderada por Messi.
Qatar 2022: ¡la Scaloneta gana la tercera!
Con Lionel Scaloni al mando, consiguiendo antes del Mundial una racha histórica para Argentina de 36 victorias, la Scaloneta llegó al Mundial como favorito pero tuvo una derrota inesperada en el primer partido contra Arabia Saudita. El equipo se recompuso y Lionel Messi, decidido a levantar el título, en su último Mundial jugó su mejor torneo. Derrotó a México y a Polonia en la fase de grupos, superó a Australia en octavos de final, en cuartos empató con Países Bajos y avanzó al ganar la tanda de penaltis y goleó a Croacia en la semifinal. En la final de infarto contra Francia, iba ganando 2-0 con goles de Lionel Messi (penal) y Ángel Di María, pero Kylian Mbappé empató el partido con dos goles seguidos (uno de penal) que le dieron la vuelta al partido en un solo minuto fatídico. En el segundo tiempo añadido, Messi metió un gol agónico. Y poco después, Mbappé volvió a anotar. Fue 3-3 en el tiempo global y a penaltis.
En los penales, Argentina ganó 4-2. Montiel marcó el último cobro. Júbilo total. El Dibu Martínez fue el héroe de nuevo: atajó un penal.
Messi fue el protagonista, el líder, el mejor jugador: siete goles y récords en anotaciones y asistencias para los argentinos en Mundiales y récord como futbolista de todo el mundo con más partidos jugados en Mundiales.
Un título histórico para una selección que había perdido la final en 2014.
(Crédito: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
- Los números de Messi con la selección de Argentina: partidos, goles, títulos
Números totales de Argentina en los Mundiales
Estas son las cifras de Argentina en los Mundiales.
- Argentina estuvo presente en 18 de los 22 mundiales disputados hasta el momento
- Fue campeón en 1978, 1986 y 2022
- Perdió las finales de 1930, 1990 y 2014
- Quedó eliminado en primera ronda en 1934, 1958, 1962 y 2002
He played a total of 88 games: 47 wins, 17 draws and 24 losses
He scored 151 goals and conceded 100
Top scorer: Lionel Messi: 13 goals in 5 World Cups (2006-2022).
More appearances: Lionel Messi, 26 games in 5 World Cups.
Lionel Messi accumulated 13 goals in 26 World Cup games.
This article was originally published in October and updated on December 18, 2022.
Argentina National Team World Cup