There winners of Euro 2020, Italy, and the holders of the Copa America, Argentina, will meet in the 2022 Finalissima at Wembley Stadium on Wednesday night. Italy beat England on penalties last summer to become European champions, while Argentina recorded a 1-0 victory over Brazil in the final of the Copa America. Italy beat Austria, Belgium and Spain in the knockout rounds of last summer’s European Championship before overcoming England on penalties in the final following a 1-1 draw.
The triumph saw the Blues become European champions for just the second time in their history, but they have incredibly now missed out on the finals of the last two World Cups, failing to qualify in 2018 before missing out on the 2022 competition by losing to North Macedonia in the semi-finals of the playoffs back in March. Roberto Mancini’s immediate focus is on Wednesday’s affair, but they will also begin their UEFA Nations League campaign on June 4, taking on Germany twice, Hungary and England in quick succession, before returning to action in September with a home fixture against England.
Giorgio Chiellini will make his final Italy appearance against Argentina, with the 37-year-old set to bring a long international career to a close, but Mancini will also be looking to the future, with a number of uncapped players in the squad. Italy have lost each of their last three matches against Argentina, which have all been friendlies, with their last competitive meeting coming at the 1990 World Cup, when Argentina won 4-3 on penalties after a 1-1 draw in the semi-finals of the competition. Argentina’s Lionel Messi and teammates celebrate winning the Copa America on July 10, 2021
Argentina, meanwhile, won the Copa America for the first time since 1993 last summer, beating Brazil 1-0 in the final courtesy of a first-half effort from Angel Di Maria. The White and Sky Blues beat Ecuador and Colombia in the quarter-finals and semi-finals to advance to the final, and they have also qualified for the 2022 World Cup courtesy of an unbeaten qualification campaign. Argentina were runners-up at the 2014 World Cup but went out in the round of 16 in 2018, and it will be fascinating to see how they perform in this year’s competition, with the South American nation bidding to lift the trophy for the third time.
Lionel Scaloni’s side have not been in action since drawing 1-1 with Ecuador in a World Cup qualifier at the end of March, while they are unbeaten in all competitions since July 2019, which should hand them confidence heading into Wednesday’s affair. There will be no extra time in the Finalissima, so a penalty shootout will occur if the match is level at the end of 90 minutes, and Argentina won the 1993 edition, then called the Artemio Franchi Cup, by beating Denmark on penalties. Chiellini is expected to start on what would be his final appearance for Italy, and it is likely to be a familiar starting side for the Euro 2020 champions.
Domenico Berardi and Andrea Pinamonti are both out through injury, while Federico Chiesa, Ciro Immobile, Gaetano Castrovilli and Rafael Toloi are also on the sidelines. Jorginho and Marco Verratti are both expected to start in midfield, while Nicolo Zaniolo and Lorenzo Insigne are set to feature in the final third of the field. There could also be just a fourth cap for Gianluca Scamacca, who enjoyed a strong season at Sassuolo, while there are 12 players in the squad looking to make their first appearances for Italy, including 18-year-old Wilfried Gnonto.
As for Argentina, Lionel Messi could be joined in the final third of the field by Lautaro Martinez and Di Maria, while Cristian Romero is set to play alongside Nicolas Otamendi in the middle of the defence. Alongside Messi (81), Lautaro Martinez (19) and Di Maria (24) are the highest scorers in the squad, but there could be a role at some stage for on-loan Manchester City forward Julian Alvarez. Brighton & Hove Albion’s Alexis Mac Allister is also in the selection, while Nehuen Perez and Marcos Senesi will be hoping to be given opportunities to make their first appearances for the national side in London.
Italy possible starting lineup:
Donnarumma; Di Lorenzo, Bonucci, Chiellini, Emerson; Barella, Jorginho, Verratti; Zaniolo, Scamacca, Insigne
Argentina possible starting lineup:
E Martinez; Molina, Romero, Otamendi, Acuna; De Paul, Rodriguez, Lo Celso; Messi, L Martinez, Di Maria