With five months remaining until the highly anticipated Qatar 2022 tournament is underway, Argentina showed why they will be a candidate to win Lionel Messi’s first World Cup.

Messi and Angel Di Maria put on a show at Wembley Stadium as the Albiceleste dominated European champions Italy in a 3-0 win that was even more comprehensive a victory than was reflected by the final scoreline.

Messi served up Lautaro Martinez for the opener in the 28th minute and then Di Maria chipped Italy’s goalkeeper Gigi Donnarumma for the second just before halftime, as Argentina were simply a cut above in a match dubbed the “Finalissima” between the reigning champs of South America and Europe. The match was played at neutral Wembley Stadium in London in front of a crowd that was decidedly pro-Messi and pro-Argentina.

While the first half was a more even affair, it was one-way traffic in the second half as Messi and Di Maria continued to create chance after chance. Only Italian ‘keeper Donnarumma was able to thwart the repeated chances. But he couldn’t stop Paulo Dybala, who slotted home the ball in the 94th minute after a Messi run left him with the ball at his feet in the Italian box. The goal rounded out the score at 3-0.

Italy will not be participating in the 2022 World Cup after missing out for the second straight men’s tournament when they tripped up in the playoffs despite being crowned the best national team in Europe at Euro 2021. A leaky defense and a punchless forward line were the reasons they were embarrassed against North Macedonia, and things didn’t look any better in Giorgio Chiellini’s farewell match, as he was unceremoniously replaced at halftime.

Argentina helped Messi win his first trophy with the senior men’s national team in July 2021 when they won the South American championship (Copa America). They came away with another trophy at Wembley — the Finalissima triumph came with silverware — but they continue to go from strength to strength under manager Lionel Scaloni, extending their current world-best unbeaten streak to 32 matches and counting. The Argentines last lost a match in the 2019 Copa America final against Brazil.

MORE: Everything about Argentina’s Group C at the 2022 World Cup

Argentina vs Italy final score

  1H 2H Final
Argentina 2 1 3
Italy 0 0 0

Goals:
ARG — Lautaro Martinez (Lionel Messi) — 28th min.
ARG — Angel Di Maria (Lautaro Martinez) — 46th+ min.
ARG — Paulo Dybala (Lionel Messi) — 94th+ min.

Argentina vs Italy live updates, highlights from Finalissima

Final: Argentina 2, Italy 0

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94th min.: Goal Argentina! Messi was not done. He was weaving his way through Italy and the ball squirted through to teammate Paulo Dybala, who knew just what to do with it inside the box. It’s 3-0 Argentina.

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91st min.: SUBS Argentina – Paulo Dybala in for Giovani Lo Celso and Nico Gonzalez replaces Angel Di Maria for a well-earned curtain call.

85th min.: SUBS Argentina – Romero out for Pezzella in central defense and Lautaro Martinez is out for Julian Alvarez.

78th min.: Another frustration foul by the Italians. Nicolo Barella just whacks Di Maria and gets a yellow. Seconds later Gianluca Scamacca gets a chance but he’s way offside.

76th min.: SUB Argentina — Ezequiel Palacios is in for Rodrigo De Paul, who had another great game for the Albiceleste. He’s another big reason why this Argentina team has what it takes to win the World Cup.

70th min.: The Argentines are dancing around the Italians. If it wasn’t for Donnarumma it’d be 4-0 or 5-0. Messi just had another shot on goal. And Di Lorenzo gets a yellow for a foul on Messi. He went after him, a clear frustration foul. Italy are out of it.

65th min.: Messi steals the ball from Jorginho in his own half and takes it into the Italy box all by himself, forcing the save from Donnarumma. Messi is inspired and so are Argentina. Incredible statement performance so far.

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64th min.: Argentina had a third and missed the chance! Italy coughs up the ball under pressure, Messi fizzes a ball across the box and Giovani Lo Celso hits the side netting all alone.

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62nd min.: And again Di Maria with another moment of magic! A straight volley on the Argentina corner kick that Donnarumma has to dive to stop. Di Maria is a free agent. His price just went up.

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60th min.: Moments after Italian midfielder Manuel Locatelli just pokes the ball at goal, Angel Di Maria nearly crafts a worldie on the other end with a curler that Donnarumma has to tip away for a corner. Angel Di Maria is so important to this team. He can create something out of nothing.

56th min.: Near own goal by Italy! Leonardo Bonucci, who’s now wearing the captain’s armband, sends the ball back to the goalkeeper, but it almost crosses the line. Gigi Donnarumma stopped the ball right on the line. Argentina is on another level.

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55th min.: Argentina is just knocking the ball around and Italy are getting frustrated and dishing a couple of hard fouls. Italy are playing with three in the back trying to force the issue.

46th min.: Second half is underway with three subs for Italy. Chiellini is out, as are forward Belotti and Bernardeschi. No ovation for Chiellini. Manuel Lazzari, Manuel Locatelli and Gianluca Scamacca are in the match.

Halftime: Argentina 2, Italy 0

Halftime: Argentina deserves its 2-0 lead based on how clinical they were in the attack. Thanks to their lethal trio (Messi, Lautaro and Di Maria), they took advantage of an Italian defense that shows it’s in need of a revamp in Giorgio Chiellini’s farewell match.

This is Argentina’s starting lineup at the World Cup and it’s established, confident and solid. They know what they want to do to hurt the other team. Messi has a real shot for his first World Cup if they can keep playing like this.

46th min.: What a goal by Argentina’s Angel Di Maria! Lautaro Martinez takes it right down the heart of Italy’s defense, and Di Maria at 34 beats the defenders to the ball and chips Gigi Donnarumma, who’s late coming off his line.

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39th min.: Leonardo Bonucci with the elbow into Lionel Messi’s face! He gets a yellow card, but that could easily have been a red. It’s still 11-on-11.

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28th min.: Goal Argentina! Just moments after Messi takes a shot save by Donnarumma, he beats a defender 1-on-1 and serves up a perfect ball for Lautaro Martinez who touches home. Messi abused the Italian right back Giovanni Di Lorenzo.

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21st min.: And that previous Bernardeschi incursion was followed by a set piece into the Argentine box and an Italy header that’s saved high by Dibu Martinez.

19th min.: Federico Bernardeschi surprises the Argentina defense down the right side and he’s free to cross it, but Argentina center back Cuti Romero cuts out the cross for a corner. Italy is in a bit more control, Argentina focused on transition.

12th min.: Giacomo Raspadori with the shot from the edge of the box and Dibu Martinez makes the easy stop. First salvo from Italy so far. The pendulum has swung in Italy’s favor over the last five minutes or so.

7th min.: Free kick for Argentina 20 yards out from Italy’s goal and it takes forever before Messi finally shoots, but it amounts to nothing.

2nd min: Angel Di Maria attempts the lob shot from the halfway line! But it finishes short of the target and goalkeeper Gigi Donnarumma had a beat on it the whole way.

1st min.: We’re off. A trophy and Argentina’s 31-match unbeaten streak is on the line. Many would have expected this to be a potential quarterfinal or semifinal at the Qatar World Cup, but Italy were eliminated again at the playoff stage.

5 mins from kickoff: Argentina’s national anthem followed by Italy’s. Chiellini’s last time for one of these. He’s provided some epic anthem moments over the years.

7 mins from kickoff: Before the anthems, Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini is honored ahead of his final match.

10 mins from kickoff: The teams are in the tunnel and ready to take the field at Wembley Stadium.

120 mins from kickoff: Another reason this match will be memorable — it’s the final match in the Azzurri blue for an Italian legend, defender Giorgio Chiellini, who’s next expected to make the move to play in the USA.

Argentina vs. Italy lineups

Juventus captain Chiellini will make an emotional 117th and final appearance for Italy at the heart of their defence.

Italy’s side is likely to look familiar to fans who watched their EURO 2021 campaign but look out for a couple of newcomers: 23-year-old Sassuolo striker Gianluca Scamacca has been linked with Premier League clubs Arsenal and West Ham and will be hoping to get some time to impress.

No Verratti, Chiesa, Insigne, Immobile, Zaniolo or Berardi for Italy (for various reasons). All could easily be starters.

Italy lineup (4-3-3): 21-Donnarumma (GK) — 2-Giovanni Di Lorenzo, 19-Bonucci, 3-Chiellini, 13-Emerson — 18-Barella, 8-Jorginho, 12-Pessina — 22-Raspadori, 9-Belotti, 10-Bernardeschi

Italy subs (12): 1-Alessio Cragno, 14-Alex Meret, 6-Manuel Lazzari, 7-Alessandro Florenzi, 15-Francesco Acerbi, 23-Alessandro Bastoni, 4-Leonardo Spinazzola, 5-Manuel Locatelli, 16-Bryan Cristante, 20-Lorenzo Pellegrini, 17-Gianluca Scamacca, 11-Matteo Politano

Argentina’s lineup will be bidding to extend the nation’s unbeaten run to 32 matches, lasting almost three years.

Angel Di Maria has played his final game for PSG, but is immediately reunited with Messi on the international stage.

Argentina starting lineup (4-3-3): 23-E. Martinez (GK) — 4-Nahuel Molina, 13-Cristian Romero, 19-Nicolas Otamendi, 3-Nicolas Tagliafico — 7-Rodrigo De Paul, 18-Guido Rodriguez, 20-Giovani Lo Celso — 10-Lionel Messi (capt), 22-Lautaro Martinez, 11-Angel Di Maria

Argentina subs (12): 1-Armani, 12-Rulli, 2-Foyth, 16-Li. Martinez, 5-Mac Allister, 6-Pezzella, 8-Acuna, 14-Palacios, 17-Gomez, 15-N. Gonzalez, 9-Alvarez, 21-Dybala

MORE: Why Italy’s World Cup elimination was a historic failure

How to watch Argentina vs. Italy

  UK USA Canada Australia
Date Wed, June 1 Wed, June 1 Wed, June 1 Thurs, June 2
Time 19:45 BST 14:45 ET 14:45 ET 04:45 AET
TV channel Premier Sports FS1
Streaming Premier Sports fuboTV, ViX DAZN Optus Sport

UK: The match will be broadcast in the UK on Premier Sports.

USA: The match will be televised by FS1, which is streamed on fuboTV. A Spanish-language stream will be available on Univision platform ViX.

Canada: Fans in Canada can watch the Argentina vs. Italy match live and on demand on DAZN.

Australia: Optus Sport in Australia will carry the Finalissima.

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