Goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez saves Argentina from FIFA World Cup heartbreak | Football News

DOHA: Emiliano Martinez came to the rescue for Argentina on a remarkable night of drama saving two Netherlands penalties in the shootout to send his country through the fifa world cup semi-finals.
The Aston Villa goalkeeper was barely tested for most of the 90 minutes as Argentina took a two-goal lead before substitute Wout Weghorst staged an incredible Dutch fightback in the quarter-finals.
Argentina were stunned when Weghorst equalized in the 11th minute of added time, forcing another 30 minutes to astonish the 88,235 spectators at the Lusail stadium – almost all those supporting Lionel Messi and his teammates.

But Martinez took his chance to be the hero just when it looked like Argentina were about to face more World Cup agony, flying to his right to fend off the opening effort of Virgil van Dijk on the spot.
After Messi, who had doubled Argentina’s lead in the game with a penalty, coolly drove home his team’s first attempt, Martinez lunged to his left to deny Steven Berghuis.
Enzo Fernandez drilled wide with the chance to win it for Argentina, but Lautaro Martinez made no mistake with his next kick, prompting a clash with 2018 runners-up Croatia.
“I feel the emotion. What I do, I do for 45 million (Argentines) who are going through a bad economic crisis,” Martinez said. “Giving people joy is the best thing that’s happening to me right now. The guys were tired, I felt they needed help but I couldn’t do anything. Luckily I was able to do later by saving two penalties.”
The win not only kept alive Messi’s dream of finally getting his hands on the World Cup trophy, but came just hours after Argentina’s arch-rivals Brazil pulled out of the tournament on penalties against the Croats.

At 35, Messi knows this will be his fifth and final World Cup – and a winner’s medal would cement his legacy as one of football’s greatest ever players, putting him alongside fellow countrymen Diego Maradona and Pele.
But it could all have been over without Martinez, who also played a starring role in the 2021 Copa America triumph that ended Argentina’s 28-year drought.
Martinez saved three attempts in a semi-final shootout victory over Colombia before being named goalkeeper of the tournament after keeping a clean sheet in the 1-0 win over hosts Brazil in the final.
“We knew, as he did against Colombia, that he could save a few shots on goal,” said Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni.
Martinez was named Goalkeeper of the Tournament, but the road to the top was long and winding for a player who spent 10 years at Arsenal before finally finding a home.

He conceded five goals in his second appearance for the Gunners in the League Cup, a game best remembered for Arsenal’s comeback after four goals at Reading in a 7-5 win.
Martinez’s time at the Gunners was mostly spent on loan in the English lower leagues, and he looked destined for a journeyman career before fellow Premier League club Aston Villa bought him for £20million. ($24.5 million) in September 2020.
He immediately became Villa’s starting goalkeeper and by the end of that season he had become first-choice for Argentina, making his debut 10 years after his first call-up.
Over the past year he has established himself as Argentina’s undisputed number one, a reliable presence which the Albiceleste sorely lacked four years ago in Russia – and which he hopes will could lead them to a third World Cup crown.


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