LONDON ( Associated Press) — Lionel Messi lifted Argentina’s second trophy in less than a year, beating Italy 3-0 on Wednesday in the “finalissima” between the defending champions from South America and Europe.
The goals were scored by forwards Lautaro Martínez, Ángel Di María and Paulo Dybala, at 28, 45 and 90 minutes, respectively, at Wembley Stadium in London, the emblematic “Cathedral of Football” in which the Albiceleste had never won. a match.
The so-called “Finalissima”, of an official nature, reissued the old Artemio Franchi Cup that the continental champions disputed until 1993. Argentina had been its last winner.
“This is priceless, we are happy for the present, for the game. Important things happen in this group”, said Martínez. “It would be beautiful (for the World Cup to start now), but we have to be aware that there are still a couple of months to go and we have to correct things.”
With this victory, the Argentine national team set a new record for undefeated games (32) and cleared up some doubts about his true potential despite winning the Copa América in 2021, with which he broke a 28-year curse without titles. In addition, he qualified for the Qatar World Cup without any surprises.
But the team led by Lionel Scaloni was asked for a test against a European rival with history. The Azzurra also won the European Championship last year, but surprisingly missed out on the World Cup for the second time in a row.
As usual, Messi was once again the mentor of the goal in Argentina. The PSG number 10 also received a ball that his teammate Nicolás Tagliafico had recovered in the rival field, beat winger Giovanni Di Lorenzo in a melee in the area and touched the middle for Martínez, who defined with his right foot.
The Inter Italy attacker would then assume the role of assistant so that Di María, with an exquisite left-footed definition, broke goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma for the second time, until a week ago his partner at PSG. Di María did not renew his contract with the French club and is wanted by several teams.
With a superlative Messi, Argentina dominated the second half with pleasure. But Donnarumma avoided a major catastrophe for the Italians until Dybala jumped off the bench in time served and, after combining with Messi, defined a left-footed cross in the third.
Argentina, world champion in 1978 and 1986, will be part of group C along with Saudi Arabia, Poland and Mexico in the World Cup.