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 are winners of the 2022 FIFA World Cup Finals. But after a initial shaky campaign, many have written them off after their shock loss in their first group match to Saudi Arabia.
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 three FIFA World Cups, one in 1978 and one in 1986, and now in 2022, making them one of the most successful national teams in the world. Only Brazil, Italy, and Germany hold more FIFA World Cup titles than Argentina, who won their third title to surpass France and Uruguay.
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.
Lionel Messi is now sixth on the World Cup All-Time goalscoring list with 13 goals. Check out our article to learn who are the five players in front of him.
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|
2022 World Cup
In what has to be the most heartbreaking way to end a World Cup, Argentina won 4-2 on penalty kicks to break an exhausting 3-3 tie. Not only did it help Argentina survive two epic French comebacks, but it also allowed Kylian Mbappé to score a hat-trick.
The World Cup final exceeded everyone’s expectations. It was a spectacle. The saves. There were moments when you felt like you were watching a car crash taking place.
When Argentina was on the verge of glory, their hearts were almost ripped from their chests. Fans cried both after goals were scored and after goals were conceded. Only after a 2-0 lead became 2-2, and 3-2 became 3-3. Argentina went on to win the penalty shootout 4-2.
2022 World Cup Starting Team
|Jersey No||Name||Position||Goals||Yellow Card||Substitutions|
|23||Emiliano Martínez||Goalkeeper||120 minutes|
|26||Nahuel Molina||Right Back||91 minutes|
|13||Cristian Romero||Center Back|
|19||Nicolás Otamendi||Center Back|
|3||Nicolás Tagliafico||Left Back||120 minutes|
|24||Enzo Fernández||Defensive Midfielder||45 minutes|
|7||Rodrigo De Paul||Center Midfielder||103 minutes|
|20||Alexis Mac Allister||Center Midfielder||116 minutes|
|10||Lionel Messi (c)||Right Forward||23 and 108 minutes|
|9||Julián Álvarez||Center Forward||102 minutes|
|11||Ángel Di María||Left Forward||36 minutes||64 minutes|
|8||Marcos Acuña||Left Midfield||90 minutes||64 minutes|
|4||Gonzalo Montiel||Right Back||116 minutes||91 minutes|
|5||Leandro Paredes||Midfield||114 minutes||102 minutes|
|22||Lautaro Martínez||Center Forward||102 minutes|
|6||Germán Pezzella||Defender||116 minutes|
|21||Paulo Dybala||Forward||120 minutes|
|Penalty Takers:||Lionel Messi||Scored|
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