How many times have Argentina and France met in the World Cup?

International football is a funny old beast. It feels as if there are some fixtures that we see fairly often (especially between nations from the same confederations, of course), while others are rarely played. (West) Germany and Argentina have faced off in three World Cup finals alone over the years, while Brazil and Italy have done so twice and had other memorable meetings in international soccer’s biggest tournament.

Argentina against France is a first-time final and feels kind of fresh as a fixture, which seems strange to say considering the teams met in the round of 16 in the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Maybe the type of game that was – and some of the names set to be involved in Sunday’s clash – has something to do with that?

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How many times have Argentina and France met in the World Cup?

Despite often being two of the favourites to go deep in the competition, Argentina and France have only ever faced each other on three occasions at the World Cup.

2018 World Cup: France 4-3 Argentina

You remember this one, don’t you? Jorge Sampaoli’s Argentina were hugely criticised for their performances in the group stage, which they squeaked through despite a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Croatia. How they got their revenge in 2022.

Their give-the-ball-to-Messi-and-hope-he-does-something tactics weren’t given much hope of defeating France, especially after Antoine Griezmann gave Les Bleus an early lead from the penalty spot. However, goals either side of half-time from Ángel Di María and Gabriel Mercado turned the game on its head, although they ultimately just made the French angry. You’ll probably recall Benjamin Pavard’s outside-of-the-ball curling volley to equalise before Kylian Mbappé scored twice to render Sergio Agüero’s injury-time strike a mere consolation.

France, of course, went on to win the tournament and Argentina, obviously, went home. Sampaoli left in the aftermath of the World Cup, Lionel Scaloni came in and the rest, as they say, is history.

1978 World Cup: Argentina 2-1 France

The 2022 Qatar World Cup has been touted as one of the most – if not the most – controversial of all-time but the 1978 edition, hosted by Argentina, took place in the midst of military dictatorship nicknamed the ‘Dirty War’ in which thousands of military opponents disappeared, were tortured or killed. This World Cup was a form of ‘sportswashing’ before the term existed.

Argentina and France were drawn together in the fittingly-named ‘group of death’, alongside Italy and Hungary. A 2-1 victory for the Argentines proved decisive, with future Albiceleste boss Daniel Passarella and Leopoldo Luque on the scoresheet for the hosts, while a young Michel Platini found the net for the French.

France lost by the same scoreline to Italy and went out in the first round, in stark contrast to Argentina. The South Americans went through the first group stage as runners-up and, by virtue of topping the second group stage on goal difference ahead of Brazil, progressed to the final, where they defeated the Netherlands 3-1 after extra-time to win the World Cup for the very first time.

💫 France have gone unbeaten across their prior 10 World Cup meetings with South American opposition.

👀 The last team to beat France from South America in the World Cup was Argentina back in 1978.#FIFAWorldCup

— Sporting News Football Club (@sn_footballclub) December 16, 2022

1930 World Cup: Argentina 1-0 France

Anyone remember this one? Maybe your grandparents (you can prefix that with a ‘great’ or two if you need to) told you about it? Famously, there were few European teams at this World Cup because it was so difficult to get to Uruguay in 1930. One of those that did was France, who jumped on a boat – the Conte Verde – with the Romanian and Belgian national teams, crossed the Atlantic and picked up Brazil in Rio de Janeiro before arriving in Montevideo.

“It was just adventure. We were young men having fun. The journey on the Conte Verde took 15 days. It was 15 very happy days,” recalled France’s Lucien Laurent. Great times.

After getting off to a winning start against Mexico, the French lost their next two games, the first of which was to a late goal from Luis Felipe Monti for Argentina, who went on to win every match in the tournament…except for the final. Despite being 2-1 ahead with almost an hour gone, the Argentines lost to Uruguay in the first ever World Cup final.

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