Emiliano Martínez shimmies, saves and secures Argentina’s World Cup with vital saves at the end

Emiliano Martínez didn’t have a single shot come toward his goal until the 71st minute. From that moment on he became one of the key figures in Argentina’s 4-2 penalty shootout victory vs. France in the World Cup final after the game finished 3-3 at the end of extra time.

Martínez was one of the most polarizing characters at the 2022 World Cup. His haters despise him for his gamesmanship, taunting and excessive celebratory body gyrations. Martínez’s critics have one other thing to deal with: he’s a DAMN good goalkeeper.

The greatest example of this was in the 123rd minute when France’s Randal Kolo Muani had a chance to win France the World Cup. Kolo Muani was clean in on goal in the dying seconds and only the outstretched leg of Martínez could save Argentina.

Emi Martínez Save vs France

This is the same guy who made an appearance for Oxford United in the fourth tier of English football not too long ago.

Argentina never makes it to the penalty shootout if Martínez doesn’t make that incredible save. France’s Hugo Lloris had to make saves all game long, facing 10 shots on target. Martínez had 70 minutes of minimal work before getting thrown into that glorious end-to-end finale.

France had five shots on target with Kylian Mbappé scoring three. Mbappé was seemingly the only player that had the key to unlock Martínez. Including the penalty shootout, the PSG superstar, who turns 24 on Tuesday, put three penalty kicks past the Argentine goalkeeper.

In the rest of the shootout Martínez was dynamite. He made two saves in the shootout vs. Netherlands and came up big again vs. France. Aurélien Tchouaméni and Kingsley Coman were his victims this time. Coman stepped up to take the second penalty for France and would be denied.

Martínez pulled out the gamesmanship and got inside Tchouaméni’s head on the next penalty. As the Frenchman approached the penalty spot, Martínez held onto the ball and then threw it for Tchouaméni to have to go and fetch.

The tactic would work as Tchouaméni missed wide to the delight of Martínez.

Those three key moments from Martínez helped Lionel Messi and Argentina become world champions. 

Well played Martínez, well played. He was honored as best goalkeeper of the tournament. He celebrated the award in a way only he could.

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