Lautaro Martínez, Ángel Di María and Paulo Dybala struck as South American champions Argentina proved to be an irresistible force in the inaugural Finalissima.
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Lautaro Martínez, Ángel Di María and and Paulo Dybala scored the goals as South American champions Argentina produced a masterful performance in the inaugural Finalissima at Wembley.
28' Lautaro Martínez taps in opener
45+1' Di María dinks second over Donnarumma
90+4' Dybala applies the finishing touch
Match in brief: Italy overrun at Wembley
Ángel Di María tried to lob Gianluigi Donnarumma from halfway inside two minutes as the South American champions tugged the beard of their European counterparts, but it was discipline and superlative passing that left Argentina 2-0 up at the break. Donnarumma barely had time to recover from denying Lionel Messi after a typically sparkly move when the Paris Saint-Germain man held off Giovanni Di Lorenzo in the box and squared for Lautaro Martínez to flick the ball in from close range.
With Lionel Scaloni's side asking all the questions, Italy might have been relieved to head in at the break just 1-0 down, yet they were caught on the hop in added time. Goalscorer turned provider as Lautaro Martínez took up possession in midfield and sent an elegantly weighted low ball forward for Dí María, who sped in to clip over the despairing Donnarumma.
Roberto Mancini made three changes at the break, notably taking off Giorgio Chiellini in his final international game, but matters did not improve. Not long after preventing a Leonardo Bonucci own goal, Donnarumma had to pull off a magnificent save to hook a Di María shot out from under his crossbar, and he was lucky to be in the right place when the Paris forward met a corner with a bullet-hard volley from outside the box.
Italy came from behind to win UEFA EURO 2020 at this venue, but there was little suggestion that a comeback was possible this time as chances kept piling up at the other end. With Giovani Lo Celso hitting the side netting and Messi denied three times by Donnarumma, the scoreline barely reflected the extent of Argentina's dominance – until Paulo Dybala popped up to finish after Messi had been tackled on the edge of the Italy box.
Player of the Match: Lionel Messi (Argentina)
"He controlled the game from start to finish. He showed great skill to lay on the assist for Lautaro Martínez, provided key passes for his team-mates and was unlucky not to score himself. He has put in a masterclass performance for the Wembley crowd. It was a joy to watch."
UEFA Technical Observer panel
Paolo Menicucci, Italy reporter
Mancini described this game as the end of a cycle for the Azzurri. The cycle which peaked with Italy becoming European champions did not end as the coach would have hoped, the pace and technique of Messi, Martínez and Di María just too much for an Italy side still recovering from their World Cup qualifying disappointment. Argentina won 3-0 but the scoreline could have been much worse. It's the end of an era; time to tear up the plans and start again, and Mancini has already proved once that he can do that.
Daniel Thacker, Argentina reporter
Argentina were eager to test themselves against European opposition for the first time in almost three years and will leave more than satisfied with what they have discovered. Their combative spine – Rodrigo De Paul, Cristian Romero, Nicolás Otamendi – all excelled, while the front three clicked from the off, Messi and Di María dovetailing to devastating and beautiful effect behind Lautaro, who ended with a goal and an assist. The Albiceleste are worthy Finalissima winners.
Lionel Messi, Argentina captain: "Today was a nice test because Italy are a great team. We knew it was going to be a nice game and a nice setting in which to be champions. It was a beautiful final, full of Argentinians. What we experienced here was beautiful."
Ángel Di María, Argentina forward: "I am very happy to win this title. I want to dedicate it to all our families who always accompany us and to all these people who were present today – it was crazy. Everything changed after the Copa América. We take off that backpack and now we are enjoying ourselves when we play, having a good time and things are happening much more easily for us. We are excited but we must always keep our feet on the ground."
Lautaro Martínez, Argentina forward: "The truth is that this is priceless. We're very happy with how things now are, with the game and what this squad is. The truth is that it's beautiful to feel the affection since we started this process. We always feel close to the public and that helps us because it's a plus. There are still a few months to go before the World Cup. We know we have things to correct."
Roberto Mancini, Italy coach: "They were better than us. We were in the game in the first half but didn't do enough to turn it around after the break."
Leonardo Bonucci, Italy defender: "We knew that it would be a tough game. I hope that the whole of Italy supports this squad."
- Giorgio Chiellini made his 117th and final appearance for Italy; the 37-year-old also left Juventus at the end of the 2021/22 season.
- Lionel Messi won a trophy at Wembley for the second time in his career; his Barcelona side won 3-1 against Manchester United at the same venue in the 2011 UEFA Champions League final.
- Argentina have won each of their last five meetings with Italy. They won the three most recent, all friendlies, and won 4-3 on penalties in the 1990 FIFA World Cup semi-finals. Italy's last victory against Argentina was a 3-1 win in a 1987 friendly.
- Prior to tonight, Italy were unbeaten in their last 19 international matches outside of their home country (W14 D5); their last defeat outside of Italy was in September 2018 vs Portugal (1-0 in the UEFA Nations League).
- Argentina are unbeaten in 32 international matches (W21 D11); their last defeat was in July 2019 against Brazil in the semi-finals of the Copa América.
- Argentina have not conceded more than one goal in any of their last 19 international matches.
Italy: Donnarumma; Di Lorenzo, Bonucci, Chiellini (Lazzari 46), Emerson (Bastoni 77); Pessina (Spinazzola 62), Jorginho, Barella; Bernardeschi (Locatelli 46), Belotti (Scamacca 46), Raspadori
Argentina: E. Martínez; Romero (Pezzella 84), Molina, Otamendi, Tagliafico; Lo Celso (Dybala 90+1), Rodríguez, De Paul (Palacios 76); Messi, La. Martínez (Álvarez 84), Di María (González 90+1)