(CNN Spanish) — With the victory over Croatia in the semifinal of the World Cup in Qatar 2022, Argentina once again returns to the most important national team match in the world. La Albiceleste, which has been the protagonist of world football for the last decade, reaches the World Cup final after just eight years. Lionel Scaloni’s team arrived at Qatar 2022 as one of the candidates and with a memorable unbeaten record, and during the World Cup it has gone from less to more.
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Argentina’s World Cup finals
Argentina, which has played 18 World Cups, will play its sixth final of a men’s World Cup. He was the first runner-up in the world, in 1930. That year Uruguay beat him.
It took 48 years to reach the top again: in 1978, in their World Cup, Argentina beat the Netherlands 2-1 with Mario Alberto Kempes as the protagonist.
Eight years later, in 1986, Argentina lifted their second World Cup in the tournament dominated by Diego Armando Maradona, playing like no one ever before and with the goal of the century. They defeated West Germany 3-2.
The Albiceleste returned to the final four years later. Maradona was still among the football elite and the final against Germany was repeated. In this case, the Germans won 1-0.
Twenty-four years passed before Argentina returned to the World Cup final: in Brazil 2014, the South Americans faced Germany again and the result was the same as in 1990, 1-0 in favor of the Europeans. It was the time of Lionel Messi – who was the Golden Ball of the World Cup – but he could not achieve the goal. It was a difficult defeat for Messi and the Argentines.
Now, in Qatar 2022, Argentina returns to the final match after a unique journey. He reached the World Cup undefeated in 36 games and in the first game, against Saudi Arabia, he lost. The blow served for the team to reorganize and focus on the game. They defeated Mexico and Poland in the group stage. To Australia in the round of 16 and to the Netherlands on penalties in the quarterfinals. In the semifinal they thrashed Croatia 3-0 with Messi displaying his genius.
Argentina has dominated South American soccer since the first tournaments a century ago. He won the Copa América in 1921, 1925, 1927, and 1929: he was the most winner of the 1920s. Then he added titles in 1937, 1941, 1945, 1946, 1947, 1955, 1957, and 1959.
But then in the 60s, 70s and 80s Argentina went blank and it was only until 1991, 32 years later, that they were able to lift the continental title again. Then two years later, in 1993, he did it again. Gabriel Batistuta was the idol in both.
Another long and hard drought passed for Argentina in the Copa América, which included runners-up in 2004, 2007, 2015 and 2016. Those last two against Chile and on penalties, which made Messi question his stay in the national team.
In 2021 it was relief: Messi was finally able to win a title with the senior team in the middle of the Scaloneta streak. And it couldn’t have been a better scenario: the Maracana against Brazil. That was his great credentials to arrive as a favorite in Qatar 2022.
Argentina has a total of 15 Copa América championships, the same as Uruguay as the teams with the most tournament titles. It is also the team with the most runners-up, with 14. It has a total of 29 American finals.
Olympic Games and other titles
The Argentina team has won two gold medals in the Olympic competition: in 2004 (Tévez as a benchmark) and 2008 (with Messi and Kun Agüero). He won the silver medal in 1928 and 1996. In all, he has played in four Olympic finals.
In 1992, the team that had just won the Copa América was champion of the Confederations Cup in Saudi Arabia.
He has also won the Conmebol-UEFA Champions Cup, known as the Finalissima, twice: in 1993 and 2022. The 2022 victory was another of Messi’s crucial triumphs with the Scaloneta.
For his part, he won the Pan-American Championship (a tournament held only three times) in 1960.
With information from Sebastián Jiménez Valencia.