Argentina is persistently ranked as the second-best team in South America. They have topped the FIFA World Rankings on many occasions, including as recently as 2017. Argentina is the fifth favorite in Qatar’s upcoming 2022 FIFA World Cup Finals. But after a shaky qualifying campaign, many have written them off, with the first World Cup final being held in the Middle East.
But that could be a massive mistake because history has proved that Argentina is not a football team you should write off when the World Cup tournaments are concerned.
How Many Times Has Argentina Won The World Cup?
The Argentina national football team has won two FIFA World Cups, one in 1978 and one in 1986, making them one of the most successful national teams in the world. Argentina was runner-up three times, in 1930, 1990, and 2014.
1978 World Cup
Mighty Argentina hosted the FIFA World Cup final for the first time in 1978, and it was two years after a military coup that led to a somewhat controversial tournament.
Argentina was on the brink of exiting this tournament in the second round. They needed to beat Peru by at least four clear goals to get through, but in the end, they beat their fellow South Americans by a total of 6 goals before beating the Netherlands in the final match.
During the final game, Argentina took the lead toward the end of the first half and held onto that lead throughout, only to lose control of the World Cup match with just 8 minutes to go. With both teams deadlocked, the game went into extra time, and Argentina scored twice, winning the World Cup final 3-1.
Mario Kempes, who opened the scoring in the final, was the tournament’s top goalscorer with six goals. While the tournament and their win against Peru were shrouded in controversy, the only thing that the record books show is that Argentina won their first World Cup with relative ease.
1978 Argentina Starting Team
|Jersey No:||Players Name||Position||Goals||Yellow Card||Substitutions|
|15||Jorge Olguín||Right Back|
|7||Luis Galván||Center Back|
|19||Daniel Passarella (c)||Center Back|
|20||Alberto Tarantini||Left Back|
|6||Américo Gallego||Defensive Midfielder|
|2||Osvaldo Ardiles||Center Midfielder||40 minutes||66 minutes
|10||Mario Kempes||Attacking Midfielder||38 and 105 minutes|
|4||Daniel Bertoni||Right Midfielder||115 minutes|
|16||Oscar Alberto Ortiz||Left Midfielder||75 minutes|
|14||Leopoldo Luque||Center Forward|
|9||René Houseman||Midfielder||75 minutes|
|12||Omar Larrosa||Midfielder||93 minutes||66 minutes|
|César Luis Menotti|
1986 World Cup
Argentina qualified automatically for the Spanish World Cup finals in 1982 thanks to their status as defending champions, but they ultimately flopped, finishing 11th overall. In Mexico ’86, however, they came back in style and won their second-ever World Cup just eight years after the first.
As with the 1978 World Cup, the 1986 success was also shrouded in controversy, courtesy of the tournament’s best player, Diego Maradona. During their Quarter-Final game against England, he leaped to contest a crossed ball with Peter Shilton, the English goalkeeper and punched it into the back of the net.
The officials missed the handball, later known as the “Hand of God.” This was also the game where Maradona scored what many fans consider one of the best World Cup goals.
Argentina beat Uruguay, Belgium, and England to the final before clinching the World Cup trophy with a 3-2 victory against West Germany at the Azteca stadium. The same stadium had witnessed the “Hand of God” only seven days earlier.
1986 Argentina Starting Team
|Jersey No||Name||Position||Goals||Yellow Card||Substitutions|
|18||Nery Pumpido||Goalkeeper||85 minutes|
|5||José Luis Brown||Sweeper||23 minutes|
|9||José Luis Cuciuffo||Center Back|
|19||Oscar Ruggeri||Center Back|
|14||Ricardo Giusti||Right Wing Back|
|16||Julio Olarticoechea||Left Wing Back||77 minutes|
|2||Sergio Batista||Defensive Midfielder|
|7||Jorge Burruchaga||Center Midfielder||83 minutes||90 minutes|
|12||Héctor Enrique||Center Midfielder||81 minutes|
|10||Diego Maradona (c)||Center Forward||17 minutes|
|11||Jorge Valdano||Center Forward||55 minutes|
|21||Marcelo Trobbiani||Midfielder||90 minutes|
World Cup Near Misses For Argentina
Argentina is a country where controversy is never far away. Diego Maradona offered the Brazilian left-back a drink spiked with tranquilizers during the half-time break of the 1990 World Cup game against Brazil. He declined.
Maradona was still near the peak of his form, though, so he didn’t need the help of those pills. Instead, his blistering run set Claudio Caniggia for the game’s only goal, sending the Argentina national football team through to the quarter-final.
They would then get the better of Yugoslavia and Italy, both on penalties, before losing to West Germany in 1990 final.
In the five FIFA World Cups that followed this, Argentina failed to make it past the quarter-finals, but they made up for those poor showings in Brazil 2014 when they once again made it to the final and again lost to Germany.
Although many fans think of Argentina as a modern force in world soccer, their success goes back much further as they also finished as the runners-up in the first-ever World Cup final. This tournament was held in Uruguay in 1930 and was contested by just 13 teams over the course of 18 matches.
Argentina recorded big wins against Mexico and the United States and was beaten by the hosts in the final. Guillermo Stabile finished the tournament as the top goalscorer, going down in FIFA World Cup history as the first-ever golden boot winner.
Additionally, Argentina won gold medals at the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Football tournaments. Two silver medals in 1928 and 1996 were won before they won their first gold medal. Argentina has won the Under 20 World Cup tournament six times.
Argentina Finals Record At The FIFA World CupThe following table lists Argentina's results at the FIFA World Cup.
|World Cup Finals||Round||Overall Position|
|1930||Final - Runners-Up||2nd
|1974||Second Group Stage||8th
|1978||Final - Champions||1st
|1982||Second Group Stage||11th
|1986||Final - Champions||1st
|1990||Final - Runners-Up||2nd
|1994||Round Of 16||10th
|2014||Final - Runners-Up||2nd
|2018||Round Of 16||16th
Rhett is an Australian-born, globe trotter who is a UEFA ‘A’ Licence Soccer Coach. With his family, he has traveled and coached soccer in more than 30 countries, while attending World Cups, European Championships, and some of the biggest local derbies in the world!