World Cup 2022 final: All of Argentina's previous World Cup finals

Diego Maradona of Argentina holds the World Cup trophy after Argentina beat West Germany in the final to win the 1986 FIFA World Cup in Mexico
(Image credit: Bongarts/Getty Images)

Argentina face France in the final of World Cup 2022 on Sunday, aiming to become world champions for the third time.

The South American nation are one of the most successful countries in World Cup history, playing in five previous finals – most recently in 2014.

From Mario Kempes to Diego Maradona to Lionel Messi – who's about to get his second (and final) shot at lifting the the trophy – some truly legendary names have graced World Cup finals in the colours of the Albiceleste. Here, FourFourTwo looks back on all of those games...

1930: Uruguay 4-2 Argentina

Uruguay score another goal during the FIFA World Cup Final against Argentina played in Montevideo, Uruguay. Uruguay won the trophy and match 4-2.

(Image credit: Allsport/Hulton)

Let's start at the very beginning... The first-ever World Cup featured just 13 teams – and with the exception of hosts Uruguay, no nation had less distance to travel than Argentina.

The inaugural World Cup final took place at the Estadio Centenario in the Uruguayan capital of Montevideo, just across the River Plate from Argentina. The Albiceleste could scarcely have been closer to home.

And that proximity counted for... nothing in the end. Argentina came from 1-0 down to lead 2-1 at half-time, but three second-half goals saw Uruguay become the first World Cup winners and their near neighbours the first runners-up.

1978: Argentina 3-1 Netherlands (AET)

Argentina's players celebrate with the trophy after winning the 1978 FIFA World Cup in Argentina

(Image credit: Mirrorpix via Getty Images)

Argentina would have to wait almost half a century to make it back 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 peddle nationalist propaganda and were alleged to have fixed matches in their team's favour), the match really belonged to Mario Kempes – who finished as top scorer with six goals.

Even before kick-off, there was high drama: the Dutch threatened to leave the pitch after Argentina complained about winger Rene van de Kerhof's plaster cast. The referee made Van de Kerhof apply another bandage – and, in retaliation, Holland refused to come out for the post-match ceremonies.

As for the game itself, the deadlock was broken shortly before half-time as Kempes finished from close range. And as the clock ticked over into the last 10 minutes of normal time, it looked like that would be enough to secure Argentina their maiden World Cup triumph.

But the Netherlands would make them wait a little longer: Dick Nanninga equalised with a header from a cross by – you guessed it – Van De Kerhof – in the 82nd minute, forcing extra time.

There was to be no turnaround, though: Kempes' scrappy solo effort restored Argentina's lead just before the end of the first period of extra time – before Daniel Bertoni's tap-in (after Kempes' galloping dribble) sealed victory on the Monumental's ticker tape-littered pitch.

1986: Argentina 3-2 West Germany

Diego Maradona of Argentina holds the World Cup trophy after Argentina beat West Germany in the final to win the 1986 FIFA World Cup in Mexico

(Image credit: Bongarts/Getty Images)

Eight years and two World Cups later, Argentina had a new hero: one Diego Maradona – and there's absolutely no doubt that Mexico 86 belonged to one of the undisputed all-time greats.

That said, while he gave them a huge hand in getting there, Maradona didn't actually score in the final against West Germany at the iconic Azteca.

Argentina's captain fantastic did, however, provide the assist for the most important goal of the game: Jorge Burruchaga's 84th-minute winner, which finally saw off the Germans after they'd come from 2-0 down to draw level just three minutes earlier.

Jose Luis Brown (with his only international goal) and Jorge Valdano netted 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

Diego Maradona of Argentina and Lothar Matthaus of West Germany during the 1990 FIFA World Cup final between West Germany and Argentina at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome, Italy

(Image credit: Etsuo Hara/Getty Images)

The final of Italia '90 saw a repeat of the previous final for the only time in World Cup history – and this time around, Argentina went home disappointed as West Germany got revenge.

Maradona didn't make quite the same mark on the tournament as he had done four years previously, failing to score a single goal – but, again wearing the captain's armband, he helped his country to World Cup final number four.

This one was considerably less thrilling than the third – although there was a fairly dramatic ending, Andreas Brehme's 85th-minute deciding matters at the Stadio Olimpico on Rome.

2014: Germany 1-0 Argentina (AET)

Bastian Schweinsteiger of Germany consoles Lionel Messi of Argentina after Germany's 1-0 victory in extra time during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Final match between Germany and Argentina at Maracana on July 13, 2014 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

(Image credit: Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)

Had Argentina won the World Cup in 2014, there would have been a case for it being their most memorable triumph yet: the tournament was hosted by their arch-rivals, Brazil (who they'd seen humiliated 7-1 by Germany in the semi-finals).

But it was to be another agonising single-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 at Rio de Janeiro's legendary Maracana – but then up popped substitute Mario Gotze to break Argentine hearts.

This is as close as Messi has ever come to getting his hands on the World Cup; he'll get one final chance on Sunday...

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Tom Hancock started freelancing for FourFourTwo in April 2019 and has also written for The Analyst and When Saturday Comes, among others. He supports Wycombe Wanderers and has a soft spot for Wealdstone. A self-confessed statto, he has been known to watch football with a spreadsheet (or several) open...