Who is the youngest player to reach two World Cup finals? Mbappé, Pelé, Maradona…
France will play in a third World Cup final on Sunday when they take on Argentina. And finals have been good to the French. In their first ever World Cup final in 1998, one they hosted, they beat Brazil 3-0 at the Stade de France in Paris.
They had to wait 20 years for their next final but they made no mistake when they faced Croatia in Russia 2018. A 4-2 win saw Didier Deschamps’ side claim victory with the help of a teenage Kylian Mbappé, who was performing on the biggest stage of them all at the age of 19.
With his goal in the World Cup final win over Croatia, Mbappé became the youngest player to score in the World Cup final since Pelé did so in 1958.
Mbappé has gone from strength-to-strength since then and despite still only being 23, he is already seen as one of the leaders of the France team.
Mbappé vs Messi
Sunday will be Mbappé’s second World Cup final and he will be hoping to win the Golden Boot. The PSG forward is the joint top goalscorer (5) at the 2022 World Cup alongside Argentina leader and PSG team-mate Lionel Messi, with the pair set to go head-to-head in a mouthwatering clash this weekend.
It will be Messi’s second World Cup final and the sixth time Argentina have contested for the biggest prize in world football.
Kylian Mbappé celebrates with the World Cup Trophy following his side’s victory in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Final between France and Croatia at Luzhniki Stadium on July 15, 2018 in Moscow, Russia. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)Matthias HangstDiarioAS
Pelé at World Cups
Pelé burst onto the scene in the 1958 World Cup with Brazil at the age of 17. He collected the Best Young Player Award after helping his country lift the Jules Rimet trophy with a 5-2 win over Sweden. The teenage wonderkid scored a brace as Brazil beat their Scandinavian counterparts. Pelé remains the youngest player to appear in a World Cup final.
The Seleção won the World Cup again in 1962, getting the better of Czechoslovakia. Pelé was only 21, but missed what would have been his second World Cup final after picking up an injury in the second match of the tournament. The silky South American team went on to beat Czechoslovakia 3-1.
Argentina and Maradona
Argentina played in two World Cup finals in the space of eight years. In 1978, on home soil, they were victorious over the Netherlands, winning 3-2 in the final in Buenos Aires.
Four years later and with Diego Maradona in their squad, they set off for the 1982 World Cup in Spain. Maradona was making a first World Cup appearance at the age of 21, but it wasn’t to be and Argentina were unable to defend their title on European soil as Italy ran out eventual winners.
Maradona against Brazil during the 1982 World Cup in Spain.DIARIO ASDiarioAS
In 1986 in Mexico, however, they tasted more success. Maradona, 25 at the time, was the man of the moment; and not only for his hand of God goal against England. El Pelusa guided his country to victory in the 1986 World Cup, beating West Germany in the final.
Maradona played every minute for Argentina, scoring five goals and providing five assists. His second goal against England in the 1986 World Cup quarter-finals was one the greatest individual goals ever witnessed. Lionel Messi provided Argentina fans with a similar run on Tuesday night when he set up fellow forward Julián Álvarez to score his team’s third goal in the semi-final win over Croatia.
More Messi magic on Sunday will bring back the memories of 1986 to those old enough to remember the last time La Albiceleste tasted World Cup glory.