Argentina’s 2022 World Cup win: 4 documentaries to relive the glory

Two series and 2 films tell the story of the country’s legendary victory from different perspectives, from Messi and his teammates to the joy of the Argentine people 

It might seem a lifetime ago in the time warp that is Argentine daily life, but it was just barely a year ago when the entire country basked in the glory of its 2022 win at the Qatar World Cup. A tense and dramatic affair, the final with France became a match for the ages that consecrated Lionel Messi as an immortal and turned December 18, 2022, into a day millions just play back in their minds from time to time and smile.    

For those aching to relive that day in a more concrete way, there’s some good news in store. Four recent documentaries depicting the Argentine team’s path to the greatest sporting triumph of the country’ history are now available online. While they each have different angles — from a first-person account by Messi himself all the way to an exploration of Argentine fans’ joys and tribulations during the World Cup — all of them (two series and two films) aim to capture the utter singularity of a month-long journey. 

Four different perspectives to tell the same story, all ending of course in identical fashion: Argentina campeón del mundo

Messi’s World Cup – Apple TV

The title is self-explanatory: the series relives the 2022 Qatar World Cup through Lionel Messi’s eyes, depicted as the culminating moment of his career.

The 4-episode documentary focuses on the tournament as the superstar’s final step in his journey to become a world champion. From his early, groundbreaking performances with FC Barcelona and Argentina to his relationship with Diego Maradona and his consecration as team leader, the series depicts a decades-long path filled with dreams and hope, but also frustration and even resignation, as Messi himself believed it would never happen for him and, at one point, even quit the national team.

While the documentary might seem overly-scripted, its value lies in the unique access it has to Messi, his teammates, and his coach. Unlike other series and documentaries, Messi’s World Cup is an exploration of their feelings and thoughts on the tournament. A deep dive into the Argentine squad as a family of top international players whose ultimate motivation was helping their revered captain get the trophy he wanted the most.

Captains of the World – Netflix

This overall view of the World Cup as seen through the eyes of the captains of the major teams echoes the narrative of legendary films like Heroes, the documentary that told the story of the Argentina World Cup win in Mexico ‘86. Through their views, thoughts, and personal experiences, Captains of the World covers issues like national sports legacies, star power, and an athlete’s strength to overcome hardships. 

There is also room for all kinds of classic tropes and cliffhangers, like underdogs Morocco and Japan beating favorites Portugal and Germany, last minute turnarounds, and the final farewell of legends like Croatia’s Luka Modric. And, of course, the final clash between Lionel Messi and his then teammate at PSG and current captain of the French national team, Kylian Mbappé. 

Elijo creer – Max

Elijo creer (I choose to believe) became an Argentine motto (and a superstitious hashtag on X) ever since Messi won his first international title with Argentina, the Copa America, in 2021. Argentine actor Ricardo Darín, an icon of the country’s film industry, brings a warm and familiar voice as narrator in a film that combines a solemn script with heartfelt testimonies of players like Otamendi or De Paul (and also the team’s historic kit manager, Mario De Stéfano, who provides the most moving moment in the film). 

The movie makes the most of its interviews, taking its time to listen to the players sharing their thoughts about how they forged a tight group and the way they feel about their leader, Lionel Messi. A luminous mix of worship and friendship, which De Paul illustrates when he remembers what Lío once told him about winning the World Cup: “If you want to be champion, you need to be prepared for the unexpected.”  And Argentina certainly had its fair share of pleasant surprises, from Nahuel Molina’s goal against the Netherlands to goalkeeper Emiliano “Dibu” Martínez’s timely saves or young Enzo Fernandez’s breakthrough performance. The end result is pretty much summarized in the words of Darin: “The day all Argentines were happy.”

Muchachos – Disney+

Clearly made for the Argentine market, Muchachos (which takes its title from Argentina’s most popular chant during Qatar 2022) features comedian Guillermo Francella narrating the team’s journey in the first person and speaking directly to the audience in a typically Argentine familiar tone. 

The film is mostly crafted with footage from the matches and random people’s cell phone videos, in a mix that can go from moving images of families and friends sharing their nervousness and joy around the TV to somewhat irritating selfie-stick videos from self-centered Argentines in Qatari stadiums. 

Muchachos peaks in the way it describes how the world champion squad came to be, an origin story with landmarks like Messi’s resignation in 2016 and the appointment of Lionel Scaloni as head coach. It also features the finest footage of Argentina’s street celebrations after every win. 

For Argentines at least, the main value of the film lies in its emotional drive because it draws from familiar tropes all fans have experienced: crowded living-room watch parties (whether in big houses with swimming pools or humble homes with bare walls), fernet-fueled celebrations, and street choripanes. 


All Right Reserved.  Buenos Aires Herald