The reigning Euro 2020 champions, Italy will face Argentina, the Copa America 2021 winners, in the Finalissima 2022 at the Wembley Stadium in London on Wednesday.
After defeating England on penalties in the Euro finals, Azzurri failed to make the 2022 World Cup, while La Albiceleste won the Copa America after edging Brazil to win the Copa America title. However, Argentina have qualified for the World Cup, unlike Italy.
The match has been played just twice before in history, with the last one taking place in 1993 when Argentina took on Denmark.
It was also played in 1985 between France and Uruguay, but after the 1993 match, the format was discontinued.
The night will be an emotional one for Italian captain Giorgio Chiellini, who is retiring from international football at the scene of his greatest triumph – last year’s Euro 2020 final win over England.
Italy vs Argentina is a blast from the past fixture that was originally named in honour of a great Italian sports administrator, Artemio Franchi.
Formerly known as the Artemio Franchi Trophy, the meeting between the champions of South America and Europe was first held in 1985, two years after the death of Artemio Franchi, a former FIGC and UEFA President and FIFA Vice-president. Franchi died in a car accident between Florence, the city of his birth, and Siena. The most important stadiums in the two cities are now named after him.
Franchi was President of the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) between 1967 and 1976 and again between 1978 and 1980, having been the general secretary at Fiorentina in the late 1940s and early 1950s. He served as UEFA President between 1973 and 1980 and was also a member of the FIFA executive committee from 1974 to 1983.
The first edition of the Artemio Franchi Trophy was hosted in France and saw Michel Platini’s Les Blues beat Uruguay 2-0 at the Stade De France in Paris.
The second edition between The Netherlands and Uruguay wasn’t played when the two countries couldn’t agree on a date to play the match. The third and last game took place in 1993 between Diego Armando Maradona’s Argentina and Denmark. The South Americans won on penalties at Mar Del Plata, Argentina. Franchi’s son Francesco awarded the winners and the runners-up on both occasions.
“I was young, and the idea of going to Mar der Plata in Argentina or the Par des Princes in Paris, where my father had been multiple times, was exciting,” he said in an exclusive interview.
The Franchi Trophy changed its name in the early 90s. It was first named after King Fahd of Saudi Arabia and then evolved into the Confederations Cup. Francesco Franchi said that there was no ill will towards FIFA for changing the tournament name named for their patriarch.