Best Ever Germany/Argentina World Cup Finals
So after 63 matches, 170 goals, 10 red cards and countless controversial incidents it’s down to this. Argentina against Germany. Messi against a talented Teutonic team. Man versus Machine.
We’re hoping tonight’s Final ranks up there with their 1986 meeting rather than 1990’s boring climax. Here’s a look at some of the best Finals in recent memory involving one, or both, of tonight’s finalists.
Argentina 3:2 West Germany, 1986
The countries first met in the Final at Mexico 86 in a culmination which echoes that of the current tournament. While Messi may not have defined these Finals as Maradona did 28 years ago, he has at times single-handedly dragged them to the Final. Similarly, Germany reached the Aztec Stadium 1986 with an efficient team with no stand-out stars, having dispatched France 2:0 along the way.
The South Americans went two-up through goals from Jose Luis Brown and Jorge Valdano before the Germans sparked an unlikely comeback. Karl-Heinz Rummenigge grabbed one back before Rudi Voller drew them level with ten minutes to go.
It was time for Maradona, who’d been man-marked throughout the game, to step up. With six minutes to go, the Argentine maestro treaded a sublime ball into the path of Jorge Burruchaga to clinch the winner in a thrilling encounter.
Italy 3:1 West Germany, 1982
The former Ireland Assistant Manager, Marco Tardelli, didn’t have much to cheer about with the Irish team but his celebrations after scoring against West Germany were the defining image of this Final.
Italy had certainly earned their place in the decider after a superb 3:2 win against an extremely gifted Brazilian side. The Italians missed a penalty in a scoreless first half, the first unsuccessful spot-kick in World Cup Final history, before eventual Golden Boot winner Paolo Rossi put them in front in the second half. Tardelli doubled their lead and substitute Alessandro Altobelli put the result beyond doubt before Paul Breitner scored a consolation goal from the penalty spot.
Argentina 3:1 Holland, 1978
This was Mario Kempes’ tournament and Mario Kempes’ final. The Argentinian striker ended the tournament as top scorer and carried his form into the Final, where he scored a brace to condemn Holland to a second successive runners-up finish.
The hosts had been aided by dubious refereeing decisions throughout the tournament and officials certainly helped in their 3:1 extra-time win. The enduring image is of ticker-tape raining down on the Estadio Monumental pitch as Argentina celebrated their first ever World Cup triumph.
England 4:2 West Germany, 1966
Whether you’re English or not, it’s hard to argue that this Final isn’t up there with the greats. Plenty of goals including a hat-trick, the lead changing hands and a last minute German equaliser to bring the game into extra-time all contributed to the historical status of this match.
Add to that a goal-line controversy and some iconic commentary and it’s obvious why this game is still fondly remembered even beyond English shores. Geoff Hurst and Martin Peters but England ahead, having fallen behind to a 12th minute goal, but Wolfgang Weber’s last-minute leveler brought the tie into extra-time.
While England’s debatable third goal is still the cause of controversy, Geoff Hurst made no mistake when completing his hat-trick and an historic win for England at Wembley, sparking the immortal “they think it’s all over, it is now” words from the BBC commentator Kenneth Wolstenholme.