In his first wide-ranging interview since Argentina’s win in the 2022 Qatar World Cup, Aston Villa goalkeeper Emiliano Martínez (30) revealed to France Football what went through his mind when he parried Randal Kolo Muani’s (24) volley in the dying minutes of extra-time in the final. With both teams heading for a tense penalty shootout, France’s centre-back Ibrahima Konaté wrong-footed Argentina’s backline with a chipped through-ball for the Eintracht Frankfurt forward. “The ball took a weird spin and I felt he would volley it“, said Martínez.
Martinez then said he went off his line with a diagonal run and left a gap to his left on purpose. “As if I said to him ‘Go on, put it there.’ I made him strike it there“, underlined the Aston Villa man. Martinez went on and said that, as Kolo Muani struck the ball that could have given France their greatest win, he unstreched his left arm and his leg to close the angle. According to the maverick goalkeeper, the fact that he trained for years with great strikers helped him in the moment, and that he approached the decisive penalty shootout with a lot of confidence. When asked if that stop is the most beautiful of his career, Martinez replied “clearly yes” in relation to the moment and pressure of such a career-defining game.
GFFN | Bastien Cheval