Argentina and Lionel Messi's History in the World Cup Final


Argentina last won the World Cup on June 29, 1986. One year later, almost to the day, Lionel Messi was born. 

So, not only has La Albiceleste not won during Messi’s tenure with the team, they haven’t won during the Argentine star’s lifetime. 

That all could change Sunday when Argentina faces the winner of France and Morocco in the final, which is expected to be the 35-year-old Messi’s last World Cup match.

Argentina advanced on Tuesday after defeating Croatia 3-0 in the semifinals, with Messi’s goal on a penalty kick opening the scoring in the 34th minute. 

It was his fifth goal of the 2022 tournament and 11th of his career, breaking a tie with Gabriel Batistuta to become Argentina’s all-time leading scorer in the World Cup. He later added an assist, his third of the tournament.

Messi could complete a storybook ending in his final game with the national team, and cement his status as arguably the greatest player of all time, by helping Argentina hoist the World Cup trophy.

Here’s a look back at Argentina’s history in the World Cup.  

Has Argentina ever won the World Cup?

Argentina has won the World Cup twice. 

The team has also been runner-up on multiple occasions, including the first World Cup in 1930 where they lost to Uruguay. 

When did Argentina last win the World Cup?

It has been nearly four decades since Argentina last won the World Cup. 

The team’s last title came in 1986 when Argentina defeated West Germany 3-2 to win the World Cup for the second time in three tournaments. After Argentina allowed West Germany to erase a late 2-0 lead, Diego Maradona set up Jorge Burruchaga for the game-winning goal in the 86th minute.  

Argentina first won in 1978, capturing the title on home soil as the host nation after defeating the Netherlands 3-1 in extra time. Mario Kempes scored the go-ahead goal during the 105th minute to give Argentina a 2-1 lead, leading the team to its first World Cup championship in seven appearances.    

When did Argentina last make the World Cup final? 

Argentina last made the World Cup final in 2014, which was Lionel Messi’s best finish with the team. 

There they lost 1-0 to Germany in extra time as Mario Götze scored the winner in the 113th minute. Messi had an opportunity to net the equalizer, but his late free kick soared over the crossbar.

How many times has Argentina made it to the World Cup final? 

Argentina has made it to the World Cup final five times, winning twice. 

They lost to Uruguay in the first-ever World Cup in 1930. Looking to become the second team to win back-to-back World Cups, they lost 1-0 to West Germany in 1990 during a rematch of the previous tournament’s final (the first-ever World Cup final rematch). In the 2014 final, Argentina lost 1-0 to Germany in extra time, one of seven World Cup finals to play beyond regulation. 

Has Lionel Messi ever won the World Cup?

Lionel Messi first debuted in the World Cup in 2006 at the age of 18. 

He has gone on to become Argentina’s all-time leader in World Cup caps (25) and goals (11), but has been unable to help lead the team to a title in his four appearances. He led the team to the 2014 final, and was awarded the Golden Ball as the best player of the tournament, but Argentina fell to Germany 1-0 in extra time. 

How many World Cups did Diego Maradona win?

Before Lionel Messi was Diego Maradona. 

The Argentine legend guided the team to the World Cup title in 1986, earning Golden Ball as the best player of the tournament. Maradona nearly helped Argentina become the first team since Brazil in 1962 to repeat as World Cup champion, but the team lost to West Germany 1-0 in the 1990 final. 

Maradona finished his World Cup career with eight goals in 21 matches. 

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