Italy and Argentina are giants of the FIFA World Cup. The Italians have won the trophy four times and Argentina twice. The teams have met five times in the World Cup. These are the five games they have played in the finals.
1974 FIFA World Cup
Italy and Argentina first played each other in the 1974 finals. The FIFA World Cup draw drew them in the same group, with Italy topping the table before they played. They were in the same group as a strong Poland team that had already beaten Argentina.
In the first half Argentina went one up, but the Italians equalized thanks to an own goal. As nobody scored after halftime, the game ended 1 - 1. The draw ensured Argentina went through as they finished ahead of Italy on goal difference.
1978 FIFA World Cup
Argentina hosted the 1978 cup. Italy and Argentina were again in the same group. As both teams were already through to the next round, it was a game that decided which side finished top of the table.
There were few goals in this game. At halftime neither team had scored, and there weren't many goals after the interval. In the second half, Italy went ahead and retained their lead up to the end of the match. They ran out 1 - 0 winners and topped the table, but Argentina still won the cup.
1982 FIFA World Cup
In the 1982 cup, both Italy and Argentina had made it to the second group round. A triumvirate of teams were in a group of three, and Argentina and Italy were two of the sides. Only the first placed team reached the semifinals.
There were no goals in the first half. However, after the interval the Italians went in front with a low strike from the left side of Argentina's penalty area that sent the ball into the bottom right corner. They further extended their lead with another strike from inside Argentina's box that beat an out-of-position keeper. During the last 10 minutes, a terrific free-kick sent the ball flying into the back of Italy's net from outside the box. However, the Italians still held out for a 2 - 1 victory; and they emerged as champions in that World Cup.
1986 FIFA World Cup
Italy and Argentina were also in the same group for the 1986 cup. As three teams could potentially go through to the next round, it was not an essential game for either side to win.
During the first half, Italy went ahead when a penalty was given and duly converted. Maradona equalized for Argentina before the interval. In the second half there were no further goals as the game finished 1 - 1.
1990 FIFA World Cup
Italy hosted Italia '90. They had made it to the semifinals, but so had Argentina. They played out their first knock-out game in a sweltering Naples.
In the first half, the Italians went in front and held the lead up to halftime. However, Argentina struck back after the break to take the game to extra-time. During that period, there were no further goals. The semifinal went to a shoot-out in which Argentina scored all their penalties. So they emerged victorious and booked their place in the final with West Germany.
Overall, the Italians have played Argentina in 13 games. Having won six and lost just two matches, Italy has the better record in the fixture. As their semifinal with Argentina was a draw, they have yet to lose to them in a 90-minute World Cup game.