Italy and Argentina will do battle at Wembley Stadium in the Finalissima on June 1st after an agreement was reached between UEFA and CONMEBOL for both sides to face off.
Argentina won the 2021 Copa America after defeating Brazil 1-0 at the Maracana Stadium, while Italy won Euro 2020 in the same period after defeating England on penalties at Wembley. The match has been dubbed the Finalissima and gives both teams an opportunity to win another trophy.
There have been a lot of misconceptions about the Finalissima
Since the announcement of the Finalissima in September 2021, a number of theories have flown around as to the importance and logic behind it. As the weeks progressed, many of these theories have been proved wrong. The competition is a one-off match between the champions of the Copa America and the European Championship, but there is a lot more to it.
— 🇮🇹 Finalissima: 1.6.22 🇦🇷 (@EURO2024) May 30, 2022
Without further ado, here are five things you may not know about the Finalissima.
#5 Chiellini’s last international match
Veteran defender Giorgio Chiellini is one of the greatest defenders of his generation, a fact agreed upon by many around the world. The 37-year-old announced a few months ago that the Finalissima would be his last match in Azzurri jersey.
Chiellini has made 116 appearances for the Italian national team, with only four players having ever made more appearances for the Azzurri. The Juventus man made his debut for the national team in 2004 in an international friendly against Finland. He only became a regular for the national team three years later and was not part of the squad that won the 2006 World Cup, with more experienced defenders preferred to him.
Chiellini captained his country to glory at Euro 2020, featuring prominently throughout the tournament. The veteran defender was also part of the Italian side that finished second at the 2012 edition of the tournament. He will hope to end his international career in the best way possible with a win in the match.
#4 No extra-time in the match
The Finalissima between Italy and Argentina is a one-off match, somewhat similar to the FA Community Shield in England. The match will be played for usual 90 minutes without any extra-time in case scores remain level after 90 minutes.
In the case of a draw, teams will take part in a penalty shootout to determine who wins the competition. Both Italy and Argentina are no strangers to penalty shootouts. They both faced the lottery of penalties in their victorious campaigns over the summer.
#3 FIFA Confederations Cup was derived from it
The FIFA Confederations Cup was a tournament normally held a few months before the World Cup between the champions of each continent. Previously known as the King Fahd Cup, the competition has been scrapped by FIFA.
The FIFA Confederations Cup was created after the organisation of the Finalissima was observed. The Finalissima was organised as a sort of intercontinental competition to determine which continental champions are the best. It was held solely between nations from South America and Europe until more federations decided to step in.
In 1992 and 1995, the competition was organised by Saudi Arabia before FIFA took over the running in 1997. There were eight editions of the competition between 1997 and 2020 after which the competition was completely scrapped. The German national team won the last edition of the competition in 2017.
#2 The match was first held in 1985
Many believed that the Finalissima is being held to honour the memory of the late Diego Maradona for his contribution to both Italian and Argentinian football. This is not the case as the match was first held in 1985 as the Artemio Franchi Cup. It was, in fact, held in the honour of former UEFA president Artemio Franchi.
France won the first edition of the competition in 1985 with a 2-0 defeat of Uruguay in Paris. Les Bleus had won the 1984 European Championship and Uruguay won the 1983 Copa America.
#1 Argentina are the reigning champions
Argentina are the defending champions of the Finalissima, having won the match in 1993 at the expense of Denmark. The last edition of the match was held in 1993 between the 1991 Copa America champions Argentina and the 1992 European Championship winners Denmark.
CONMEBOL–UEFA Cup of Champions
🇮🇹 Italy vs Argentina🇦🇷
— kotbal101 (@Kotbal101) May 24, 2022
The 1993 edition of the competition was the last trophy Diego Maradona won with his country. The mercurial forward featured for La Albiceleste as they won 5-4 on penalties following a 1-1 draw after extra-time. Claudio Caniggia scored Argentina’s goal in the match, with the likes of Diego Simeone, Peter Schmeichel and Gabriel Batistuta also playing.