This weekend’s World Cup Final between France and Argentina has the chance to continue a record that stretches back to the 1982 tournament.
Amazingly, a Bayern Munich and an Inter Milan player have featured in a World Cup Final since Italy defeated (West) Germany 3-1 at Spain ’82.
Between them, Argentina and France have players from these two European clubs to continue the streak. Les Bleus cover the Bayern half of the record, with Dayot Upamecano, Kingsley Coman and Benjamin Pavard in their World Cup Final team.
Meanwhile, Argentina boast the sole Inter player in the squads – forward Lautaro Martinez.
However, their participation in the showpiece game is not a foregone conclusion. Deschamps replaced Upamecano with Ibrahima Konate for the semi-final. Additionally, Coman has regularly featured as a substitute this tournament. But France did not use the forward in the win over Morocco.
In contrast, Benjamin Pavard has not played since France’s first group game against Australia – where he started. Jules Kounde has since replaced the Bayern defender in the starting XI.
Similarly, Julian Alvarez has replaced Lautaro Martinez during Argentina’s run to the final. The Man City attacker has started every knockout game. Lautaro has come on as a sub on multiple occasions, though.
As a result, this 40-year-old World Cup Final record can continue. But it arguably hangs in the balance more than in previous finals.
1980s: The beginning of the World Cup Final record
As mentioned earlier, this record’s inception came at the 1982 final between Italy and West Germany.
Inter Milan had two players in the Azzurri starting XI; defender Giuseppe Bergomi and midfielder Gabriele Oriali. In addition, Inter forward Alessandro Altobelli came off the bench to score in Italy’s 3-1 victory.
Bayern had three starters in the opposing side. Forward Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, plus midfielders Paul Breitner and Wolfgang Dremmler, were the Bavarians in the West Germany team. Breitner was also Die Mannschaft’s only scorer in that final.
Following this, the 1986 showpiece between Argentina and West Germany had just one nation with players from the two clubs. The unfortunate Germans, on the losing side again, had a single Inter representative in their team. This was forward Rummenigge, who had switched Bayern for Milan in 1984.
Contrastingly, the German squad had five Bayern players, including Lothar Matthaus.
The 1990s Finals
The climax of Italia ’90 saw Germany finally get revenge for 1986 when they beat Argentina. Like the 1986 final, though, the European side had all the Bayern and Inter players. The Albiceleste had none.
Jurgen Klinsmann, Matthaus, and Final goal-scorer Andreas Brehme made up a trio of Inter stars in the final. Bayern had two starters, as well as eight Germany squad members.
The 1994 Final then made this World Cup record more complicated, as Germany did not make it. But Brazil, who won the game on penalties, boasted Bayern right-back Jorginho in their team. Midfielder Nicola Berti, meanwhile, was the sole Inter player in the Italian contingent.
Selecao returned to the World Cup Final in 1998. However, it was their opponent, France, who kept the record going. French left-back Bixente Lizarazu was the Bayern player, and Youri Djorkaeff came from Inter.
The 2000s keeps the World Cup Final record going
Into the 2000s now, and Germany’s appearance in the 2002 final kept the streak alive. Oliver Kahn led a three-strong Bayern representation in the German line-up. Brazil icon Ronaldo was then the only Inter player as Selecao won 2-0.
Following this, the 2006 teams had a starter from each club. Champions Italy had Inter’s Marco Materazzi at the heart of their defence. France, on the other hand, had Bayern right-back Willy Sagnol.
Streak continues through the 2010s
Africa’s first-ever World Cup final also had a guaranteed first-time champion as Spain played the Netherlands.
The Spanish squad had no players from either Bayern or Inter, leaving the Netherlands to pick up the slack. Wesley Sneijder was playing for the Italians at the time. Mark van Bommel then represented the Bavarian giants.
After the 2010 final, the 2014 showpiece between Argentina and Germany threatened to bring the streak to an end. It took Rodrigo Palacio’s 78th-minute arrival to put an Inter player in the final. This is because neither country had a member of the Italian club in their starting XI.
In contrast, Germany had six Bayern Munich players start for them in their 1-0 win.
Finally, in 2018, Corentin Tolisso’s appearance as a sub put a Bayern player in the last World Cup final. Inter pair Ivan Perisic and Marcelo Brozovic both started for Croatia, who lost the game 4-2.
With a few different options available, we will hopefully see this unique streak continue at the last game in Qatar on Sunday.
Featured image credit: Getty