World Cup Final: Goal Keeper Emiliano Martinez's Mind Games Makes Argentina Edge France

All the talk before Sunday's incredible World Cup final between Argentina and France was understandably about Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe, but by the end, another name was on everyone's lips - Emiliano Martinez.

After an enthralling, twisting, turning and emotionally draining 120 minutes and the game level at 3-3, penalties were needed to determine who would lift football's greatest prize.

While Argentina's takers did their job by calmly converting all four of their spot-kicks, Martinez stepped up to break French hearts.

Mbappe had scored two penalties in the game so there was little surprise he converted France's first of the shootout, although Martinez was not far off getting a hand to it.

From then on, though, the Aston Villa goalkeeper took centre stage.

He went the right way again to deny Kingsley Coman, before the mind games were ramped up to further unsettle the French players.

As Aurelien Tchouameni walked up for his turn, perhaps already feeling the weight of expectation, Martinez rolled the ball away from the Real Madrid midfielder, forcing him to have to walk over to collect it.

There is a word for such antics by Martinez that can't be stated here, but they had the desired effect as the 22-year-old Tchouameni dragged his penalty wide, prompting a dance reminiscent of Alan Pardew's mesmerising moves in Crystal Palace's 2016 FA Cup final against Manchester United.

That put Argentina within touching distance of a first World Cup since 1986 and, although Randal Kolo Muani fired home France's next penalty, it only delayed the celebrations from the South Americans as substitute Gonzalo Montiel scored to kick off the party.

"Emi Martinez is a very positive guy and told his team-mates he was going to save some penalties," revealed Argentina boss Lionel Scaloni.

Read More: BBC


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