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Argentina vs France: three most memorable meetings

On Sunday, the 22nd World Cup Final will be contested with Argentina facing France at Lusail Iconic Stadium.

This will be France’s fourth appearance in the final, and Argentina’s sixth, although it’ll be the first time these two have met in the showcase occasion.

However, la Albiceleste and les Bleus’ paths have crossed three times at World Cups before, with this article looking back at all three clashes.

Their only meeting non-World Cup or international friendly meeting came in the Brazil Independence Cup, a goalless draw back in 1972, so that didn’t make the cut.

Argentina vs France: Head to head competitive record

Argentina wins: 2. France wins: 1.

Argentina vs France: Three World Cup meetings

15 July 1930: Argentina 1-0 France. World Cup Group 1. Estadio Gran Parque Central.

30 June 2018: France 4-3 Argentina. World Cup round of 16. Kazan Arena.

France 4-3 Argentina: round of 16- 2018

While Italy and West Germany’s clash in 1970 is known as the ‘Game of the Century’, could France and Argentina have played out the game of this century four years ago in Russia?

Back then, these two juggernauts met in the round of 16.

France had cruising through their group, while Argentina required a last-gasp volley from Marcos Rojo against Nigeria to sneak through their’s.

Despite having moved to PSG for €180 million, it was this June afternoon in Kazan when Kylian Mbappé truly announced himself to the watching world.

Early on, Mbappé picked the ball up inside his own half, ran 70 yards, away from Nicolás Tagliafico and away from Javier Mascherano, before being bundled over by Rojo.

Antoine Griezmann converted the subsequent penalty, and the game was going exactly to script.

But then, out of nowhere, a rocket from Ángel Di María, followed by a little flick from Gabriel Mercado, had Argentina in front.

They weren’t ahead for long though; Benjamin Pavard’s astonishing volley got his side level, and was latter awarded goal of the tournament.

Then, after all that madness, the Mbappé show resumed; he scored twice in four minutes, thereby giving les Bleus an unassailable advantage.

Sergio Agüero’s header did give Argentina hope, but 4-3 it finished; this is one of just four World Cup knockout stage matches since WWII that have featured 7+ goals.

France would go on to lift the trophy a fortnight later, looking to retain their world title on Sunday.

Argentina 2-1 France: group stages- 1978

40 years earlier, it was Argentina who were champions of the world, lifting the trophy for the very first time on home soil.

César Luis Menotti’s team began their campaign with a comeback 2-1 victory over Hungary, before facing France four days later.

The hosts led courtesy of Daniel Passarella’s penalty, only for Michel Platini’s left-footed strike to get France right back into it.

However, this game is most famous for the winning goal, coming just 16 minutes from time.

Ossie Ardiles rolled the ball to Leopoldo Luque who, on the edge of the D, flicked the ball up, before riffling it past Jean-Paul Bertrand-Demanes.

This is certainly one of the most iconic goals for the era, and one was one of four Luque netted as his team won the competition.

Argentina 1-0 France: group stages- 1930

Sunday’s final will be Argentina 88th World Cup match, the very first of which came against France 92 years ago.

Just 13 nations participated in the inaugural edition of the World Cup, held in Uruguay in July 1930.

France featured in the World Cup’s first-ever match, hammering Mexico 4-1, with Lucien Laurent the scorer of the World Cup’s maiden goal.

Just 49 hours later, Argentina took to the field for the first time, facing les Bleus in Montevideo.

In those days, there was no substitutes, so the French were massively disadvantaged when goalkeeper Alex Thépot was forced off injured after 20 minutes.

Despite this, Raoul Caudron’s team looked set to cling on for a credible draw, only for Luis Monti’s late free-kick to snatch an Argentine victory.

There was still some controversy to come though, with referee Gilberto de Almeida Rêgo blowing for full time six minutes early while, to make matters worse, Marcel Langiller was clean-through on goal.

After much protestation from the French players, the match resumed, but they could not find an equaliser.

Argentina topped the group, thereby reaching the semi-finals where they hammered USA 6-1, before losing to Uruguay in the final.

All in all, Argentina and France’s World Cup meetings guarantee goals, controversy and drama, so let’s hope for more of that this weekend.


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Ben Gray

Arsenal fan – follow them over land and sea (and Leicester); sofa Celtic supporter; a bit of a football '"encyclopedia".

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