Italy and Argentina will play the trophy for the best teams in Europe
Tonight, Lionel Messi could win another trophy with Argentina, if the guys from his ancestral homeland don’t get in the way. There are probably those among Soccer.ru readers who are perplexed as to what we are talking about now, so we explain in detail. On December 15, 2021, the soccer unions of Europe and South America, UEFA and CONMEBOL, signed an updated and expanded version of the Memorandum of Understanding.
One of the interesting points of cooperation between the confederations was the holding of matches between the champions of Europe and the holders of the America’s Cup. A kind of Supercup for the national teams was named the Finalissima and will be played by Italy and Argentina, who last summer were the strongest in their respective parts of the world by winning Euro 2020 and Copa America 2021 respectively.
The 2022 final will be held in London at Wembley. The trophy will be awarded on the basis of one match with no extra time; in the event of a tie after 90 minutes, a penalty shootout will take place. The winner will receive a stylish trophy made of copper and coated with silver. The weight of the cup is 8.5 kilograms, its height is 45 centimeters.
Finalissima has become a new reincarnation of the Artemio Franchi Cup
The temptation to call the meeting between the national teams of Italy and Argentina the first Finalissima in history is great, but it’s not quite fair, because the European and South American champions have already met each other twice. The idea to hold such matches on the eve of the World Cup belonged to long-time UEFA president (1972-1983) Artemio Franchi, who died in a car accident and never saw the fruits of his work. The memory of the soccer functionary is kept in the name of the trophy.
France and Uruguay played out the Artemio Franqui Trophy for the first time in 1985. “The Tricolor won in Paris 2-0 thanks to goals from Dominique Rocheto and José Toure. The next meeting between the champions of the two most footballing parts of the world was eight years later: Argentina played at home against Denmark. The hosts quickly set up an auto-goal, Canigia answered a fellow player’s “self-shot” with a penalty, no one else scored in regulation or extra time.
In the penalty shootout, fortune smiled on the Argentines with Simeone, Maradona and Batistuta in the starting lineup. Each of them unmistakably hit the spot-kick. Shortly thereafter, FIFA pawed at hosting matches between the best teams from different parts of the world, converting the King Fahd Cup into the Confederations Cup, the last edition of which was held in Russia in 2017. And now we have Finalissima with us. Perhaps it’s even more interesting and prestigious that way.
Italy vs Argentina
- Last summer, Italy won the European Championship, defeating Turkey (3-0), Switzerland (3-0), Wales (1-0), Austria (2-1), Belgium (2-1), Spain (1-1, 4-2 on penalties) and England (1-1, 3-2 on penalties). The semifinals and finals of the tournament were held at Wembley, where the Finalissima will take place today. The London stadium was a happy one for the Italians, although Roberto Mancini’s charges outplayed Spaniards and Englishmen only in the penalty shoot-out.
- In parallel with Italy, Argentina were on their way to the America’s Cup. In the course of the tournament, the Albiceleste met Chile (1-1), Uruguay (1-0), Paraguay (1-0), Bolivia (4-1), Ecuador (3-0), Colombia (1-1, 3-2 on penalties) and Brazil (1-0). Angel Di Maria’s goal brought the minimum victory over the Brazilians. The match took place in Rio de Janeiro, which makes the success of the Argentines unforgettable. Thus, Italy and Argentina won their away finals at Wembley and the Maracana.
- The Italian team won the Euros for the second time in history, 53 years after the previous victory. Argentina won its 15th Copa America 29 years after the 14th.
- Argentina successfully qualified for the 2022 World Cup, with opponents Messi and Co. in the group stage being Poland, Mexico and Saudi Arabia. But the Italians will miss a second World Cup in a row, first they lost the lead in the group to Switzerland, and then sensationally lost in the joint North Macedonia. The World Cup will take place without the European champions, who can get their hands on another trophy today.
- The match against Argentina will be the last for Giorgio Chiellini, who left Juventus and is close to the end of his international career.
- Argentina have not lost in three years. The last time the Argentines lost to Brazil in the semi-finals of the Copa America 2019 with a score of 0:2. However, when it comes to meetings with European teams, against which Argentina has not played since the same 2019, the statistics are dismal: three defeats and two draws in the last five matches.
From the source
Roberto Mancini, head coach of Italy:
Italy against Argentina is a classic of world soccer, thanks to our match many legendary players will be remembered. It’s a pity that we were left without Chiesa, Immobile, Berardi and Verratti. However, any of those who replace them will also have a great match. Tomorrow will be the end of a certain cycle. It does not mean that 15-20 people will leave the team at once. But after this match, we will start to call up more youngsters to the national team to understand their level and decide if they can help us in the future.
Lionel Scaloni, head coach of Argentina:
When I was a soccer player, I enjoyed matches against such opponents in such stadiums. Of course, with strong European teams, we would have preferred to play more often. Our long winning streak is just statistics, a number which does not really matter to us. The most important thing is to know what we want and how we will achieve it. We need to take advantage of this moment and gain important experience. When you play in an Argentinian national team shirt, every game is important. Well, if there is also an opportunity to win a trophy, it is even better.