Emi Martinez opens up on what he told Argentina teammates before his iconic penalty shootout performance in the Copa America quarter-finals

Emi Martinez opens up on what he told Argentina teammates before his iconic penalty shootout performance in the Copa America quarter-finals

 

Argentina goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez

Argentina goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez revealed what he told his teammates before their penalty shootout in the Copa America quarter-final victory over Ecuador on Thursday, July 4. After the two sides played out a 1-1 draw, the former Arsenal shot-stopper saved two penalties to help his team to a 4-2 win at the NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas.

Lisandro Martinez opened the scoring for La Albiceleste in the 35th minute before Ecuador bagged a stoppage-time equalizer (90+1) through Kevin Rodriguez. The Ecuadorians also missed a penalty in the second half, with Enner Valencia hitting the post.

Fortunately enough, Martinez, who turned up in the shootout, said after the match (via @RoyNemer):

“I told the guys that I was not ready to go home. Even more so that we are World champions and Copa America champions, this group deserves to continue. It has been 35 days that we are enclosed with everyone and it’s emotional.”

The pressure was on the rise after Lionel Messi missed Argentina’s opening penalty in the shootout. But Martinez produced consecutive saves from Angel Mena and Alan Minda to give his team the advantage.

The 31-year-old has made four appearances in Copa America 2024 so far, keeping three clean sheets. Overall, he has recorded 43 caps across competitions for Argentina, keeping 31 clean sheets.

Martinez has become popular for his ability in penalty shootouts after he helped Argentina win the 2022 World Cup final against France in the shootout (4-2). That day, the teams played out a 3-3 draw in regular time.

Argentina manager Lionel Scaloni reacts to Emi Martinez’s penalty shootout heroics in Copa America

Emi MartinezEmi Martinez
Argentina manager Lionel Scaloni talked about how the team have blind faith in Emiliano Martinez to pull off something spectacular in penalty shootouts.

Following a stunning performance from the Aston Villa star, Argentina have qualified for the semi-final of Copa America. After the match, Scaloni said (via ESPN):

“In penalties, the team has blind confidence in its goalkeeper and that is fundamental. Even after Leo’s miss and with all that means for the team, it’s important that our goalkeeper came up clutch.”

Although Martinez is an established name in world football today, he spent much of his career serving as the second choice at Arsenal. During his 10-year stay at the Emirates, the Argentine made just 38 senior appearances for the club

 

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