ARGENTINA will return to the World Cup final on Sunday – eight years after their devastating defeat to Germany.
Incredibly, Lionel Messi is the only survivor from the side that lost in the Maracana.
Corbis – GettyArgentina lost the 2014 World Cup final to Germany[/caption]
GettySergio Aguero and Pablo Zabaleta suffered heartbreak[/caption]
The former Barcelona superstar started in attack that evening.
But he came out on the losing side as Mario Gotze grabbed the dramatic extra-time winner.
Now the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner has the chance to get his hands on the iconic trophy – in what will be his final World Cup match.
But what happened to the Argentina team that took to the field in the 2014 final?
The goalkeeper was a constant between the sticks for Argentina, racking up 96 caps between 2009 and 2018.
He moved to Manchester United as David De Gea’s back up a year after the heartbreak in Brazil and is now back in his homeland with Boca Juniors.
The right-back enjoyed another three seasons with Manchester City but only added a League Cup before joining West Ham in 2017.
After 80 appearances over three years he hung up his boots before stepping into punditry.
BBCZabaleta is working with the BBC at the World Cup[/caption]
Zabaleta worked for the BBC at the World Cups in Russia and Qatar – and also does analysis for ESPN and LaLiga.
Another former Manchester City defender, Demichelis left the Etihad for Espanyol in 2016 and then finished his career back at Malaga.
He wasted no time stepping into coaching, becoming Malaga assistant before taking charge of Bayern Munich’s Under-19s and reserves.
He obtained his Uefa Pro licence in October and a month later agreed a deal to take over as River Plate’s new head coach.
The former Real Madrid, Benfica and Zenit defender had a four-year spell with Valencia between 2016 and 2020.
However, after struggling with a long-term injury and without a club for a year, he retired aged just 34.
It is reported he has now started his own real estate development in Valencia.
Another former Manchester United man, and like Romero, he is back in Argentina playing for Boca Juniors.
Rojo joined United immediately after the World Cup run to the final and won the FA Cup, League Cup and Europa League but failed to really cement himself as a first-team regular.
Midway through his eight years at Barcelona when he reached the World Cup final, the defensive-midfielder-turned-centre-back went on to reach a grand total of 19 trophies at the Nou Camp.
AFPOnly a few of the starting XI are still active footballers[/caption]
Javier Mascherano retired before taking over as Argentina Under-20s bossGetty Images – Getty
The four-time Copa America runner-up had two seasons in China with Hebei China Fortune and turned out 11 times for Estudiantes to finish his playing career back home.
The ex-Liverpool man took over as Argentina U20s manager in January 2022.
The holding midfielder, who made 58 appearances for his country, left Lazio for AC Milan in 2017 before moving to Turkey in 2020.
He spent two seasons with Fatih Karagumruk but left in the summer to join Super Lig rivals Istanbul Basaksehir.
Perez left Benfica six months after the World Cup in Brazil to join Valencia for £21million – making him the tenth most-expensive Argentina footballer ever.
He spent two years in Spain before signing for his current club River Plate in June 2017, even playing a full 90 minutes in goal when the team suffered a major Covid outbreak before a Copa Libertadores clash.
Incredibly, River Plate won 2-1 – with Perez named man of the match for producing a string of fine saves.
An icon for FIFA game players for many years, Lavezzi shone at PSG for four years after bursting on to the scene with Napoli.
Like Mascherano, the attacker headed to the Far East to play for Hebei China Fortune.
He spent three years there until 2019 when he announced his early retirement.
The only man still in the Argentina squad – and still operating at the peak of his incredible powers.
Still the captain eight years on, Messi led his team to Copa America glory in 2021 and now has his shot at World Cup glory – in what would be La Albiceleste’s first triumph since 1986.
At club level, he has broken countless records and added FOUR Ballon D’ors.
But he shocked the world when he left Barcelona in 2021 – joining PSG as a free agent – but his future beyond this season remains unclear.
AFPLionel Messi is missing the World Cup from his trophy cabinet[/caption]
Gonzalo Higuain retired this year after three seasons with Inter MiamiGetty Images – Getty
The centre-forward in the 2014 final had joined Napoli from Real Madrid a year earlier.
He was on the Juventus books for four years – with loans to AC Milan and Chelsea – before finishing his career at Inter Miami, retiring at the end of the MLS season.
Fernando Gago came off the bench and is now managing Racing Club in his homeland.
Rodrigo Palacio retired from football in September 2022 and the 5ft 9ins ace immediately stepped into playing basketball as a point guard for Polisportiva Garegnano.
Sergio Aguero was the other substitute for Alejandro Sabella and went on to become City’s record goalscorer with 260 strikes before a brief stint at Barcelona was cut short due to a heart condition that forced early retirement.
Angel Di Maria was in the 2014 World Cup squad but did not make the matchday after tearing his hamstring in the quarter-final.
He joins Messi as the only other player to be in the 2014 and 2022 squads.
Angel Di Maria could get his chance to play in the World Cup finalSplash
ReutersSergio Aguero is in Qatar supporting his friends[/caption]