Argentina put in a scintillating performance at London’s Wembley Stadium on Wednesday to beat Italy 3-0 in the inaugural Finalissima.
UEFA.com looks back on their history, how they became South American champions, and checks out their vital statistics.
What is the Finalissima?
The fixture pits the champions of Europe against their South American counterparts, in a showdown agreed after UEFA and CONMEBOL signed a renewed and extended Memorandum of Understanding on 15 December 2021.
FIFA ranking: 4
World Cup best: winners (1978, 1986)
Copa América best: winners (15 times)
How they became South American champions
Group A: winners
14/06: Argentina 1-1 Chile (Messi 33; Vargas 57)
18/06: Argentina 1-0 Uruguay (Rodríguez 13)
21/06: Argentina 1-0 Paraguay (Gómez 10)
28/06: Bolivia 1-4 Argentina (Saavedra 60; Gómez 6, Messi 33pen 42, La. Martínez 65)
03/07: Argentina 3-0 Ecuador (De Paul 40, La. Martínez 84, Messi 90+3)
06/07: Argentina 1-1 Colombia (aet, Argentina won 3-2 on pens) (La. Martínez 7; Díaz 61)
10/07: Argentina 1-0 Brazil (Di María 22)
Coach: Lionel Scaloni
Scaloni, who was capped just seven times but appeared at the 2006 World Cup finals, was a stalwart at Deportivo La Coruña before spending several years in Italy with Lazio and Atalanta. Appointed assistant coach by Jorge Sampaoli at Sevilla in 2016, he took the same role under him with the national team a year later. Scaloni assumed sole charge in 2018 and ended Argentina’s 28-year trophy drought at the 2021 Copa América.
Key player: Lionel Messi
The Paris striker and former Barcelona icon barely needs an introduction. Messi holds records for the most caps and goals for Argentina and finally clinched his first international trophy last summer. Player of the Match in the Finalissima, the 34-year-old has won four UEFA Champions League titles and has finished top scorer in six seasons of the competition.
Young talent: Julián Álvarez
Argentina’s next great striker hope, Álvarez made his international debut in June 2021. The 22-year-old was top scorer in Argentina’s Primera División with River Plate in 2021, when he was also voted South American Footballer of the Year. He joined Manchester City in January but immediately returned on loan to River Plate. A late substitute in the Finalissima, he announced his arrival by attempting to lob Gianluigi Donnarumma from long range.
- Argentina’s triumph in the 2021 Copa América was their 15th in the competition, equalling Uruguay’s record. They have won more games (127) and scored more goals (474) at the finals than any other nation.
- Messi’s appearance in last summer’s Copa América decider was his 34th at the finals, equalling the record of Chile’s Sergio Livingstone.
- Messi finished joint top scorer at the 2021 Copa América, the first Argentina player to do so since Gabriel Batistuta in 1995.
- Messi was voted Copa América Player of the Tournament for the second time last summer, having also scooped the award in 2015. You have to go back to 1993 for the last time a different Argentinian player was voted best player at the finals (Sergio Goycochea).
- Emiliano Martínez took the award for best goalkeeper at the 2021 Copa América after keeping four clean sheets, and saving three penalties in their shoot-out success against Colombia in the semi-finals. He is the only Argentinian goalkeeper to win the award.
- Argentina have now won their last five meetings with Italy. The three most recent were friendlies, with the first in the sequence a 4-3 success on penalties in the 1990 World Cup semi-finals. La Albiceleste have not lost to the Azzurri since 1987.
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