Emiliano Martinez established himself as an Argentina legend on Sunday, helping his side beat France 4-2 on penalties to win the World Cup. 

However, the Aston Villa goalkeeper has been criticised after he threw the ball away before Aurelien Tchouameni took his penalty. His mind games clearly worked as the France midfielder fired his shot wide of the post.

The goalkeeper’s behaviour became a topic of conversation between Chris Sutton, Ian Herbert, Ian Ladyman and Oliver Holt in the latest edition of our World Cup Confidential from Qatar. 

Emiliano Martinez's danced away after Aurelien Tchouameni's penalty miss on Sunday

Emiliano Martinez’s danced away after Aurelien Tchouameni’s penalty miss on Sunday

The France squad are given a guard of honour from the Argentina team after the final

The France squad are given a guard of honour from the Argentina team after the final

CHRIS SUTTON: Being in the Lusail Stadium, watching this World Cup final — one of the best ever, if not the best — was breathtaking. It was everything sport should be. But I wasn’t enamoured with Emiliano Martinez’s antics. It was despicable what Argentina’s goalkeeper did, throwing the ball away from Aurelien Tchouameni as he stepped up to take a penalty in a World Cup final shootout.

The Argentina players gave the Frenchmen a guard of honour. If you are Tchouameni and you are walking past Martinez, you probably feel like biffing him. He added to Tchouameni’s thinking time. Then he missed.

It would have been interesting had Martinez been booked by the referee at that point because he was then carded for his antics at France’s next penalty, taken by Randal Kolo Muani.

Martinez was seen throwing the ball away from Tchouameni before the midfielder missed

Martinez was seen throwing the ball away from Tchouameni before the midfielder missed

IAN LADYMAN: You have highlighted all the points I wanted to make about Martinez so I haven’t got anything else to add.

SUTTON: Not like you!

LADYMAN: Certainly not like you! As Chris says, Polish referee Szymon Marciniak booked Martinez. But it was too late by then. This was premeditated gamesmanship. I don’t care about the guard of honour — a guard of honour means nothing if you are going to behave like that.

OLIVER HOLT: I agree. I’ve been to seven World Cup finals now and this was the best final I’ve seen. In my mind, 1970 epitomised what was best about the beauty of football. But it didn’t have the drama this one had. This was one of the best games I’ve ever seen, up there with the 1999 Champions League final where Manchester United won the treble, and the 2005 final where Liverpool came back in Istanbul.

We are very keen in this generation to say, ‘That was the best’. Sometimes the most recent things seem like the best. It’s hard to argue this wasn’t the best World Cup final. But the one discordant note was that behaviour by Martinez. Argentina have form. We saw that against the Netherlands.

The mind games seemed to work as Tchouameni failed to hit the target from 12 yards

The mind games seemed to work as Tchouameni failed to hit the target from 12 yards

SUTTON: That was both ways with the Dutch, though, wasn’t it?

HOLT: It was both ways up to a point. The image that will live long in the memory is the Argentinian players taunting the Dutch after they had won the shootout. That left a nasty taste in the mouth, and Martinez behaved in a similar fashion in this final.

SUTTON: Imagine if Lionel Messi walked up to take a penalty and France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris lobbed the ball away like that. There would have been a riot!

LADYMAN: What we should not forget is that France only turned up 10 minutes before the end of normal time. For 80 minutes, we were wondering whether the virus had reduced their players to passengers. Herbie, was Didier Deschamps asked about that afterwards?

Martinez was cautioned by referee Szymon Marciniak for his premeditated gamesmanship

Martinez was cautioned by referee Szymon Marciniak for his premeditated gamesmanship

France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris opted not to partake in such actions throughout the shoot-out

France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris opted not to partake in such actions throughout the shoot-out

IAN HERBERT: Deschamps was gracious in defeat, talking about how well Argentina played. There was a hint of talk of the virus but he didn’t want to make excuses. He wasn’t entirely happy with the referee, talking about the first penalty won by Angel Di Maria after Ousmane Dembele’s foul. There was also an allusion to Argentina’s ‘cunning’, as he put it, and I think that was his code for Martinez’s disgraceful behaviour in the shootout.

LADYMAN: If Deschamps is going to talk about ‘cunning’, he should be reminded of Marcus Thuram’s dive at 2-2.

HERBERT: That must go down as the decision of the tournament. In the press box, we thought it was a foul on Thuram and a penalty for France. For Marciniak to see that, at that pace, was incredible.

LADYMAN: That second Argentina goal, scored by Di Maria and created by a succession of their players, including Messi and Alexis Mac Allister of Brighton, was one of the great World Cup final goals, up there with Carlos Alberto for Brazil in 1970.

Marcus Thuram was judged to have dived when both sides were in search of a late winner

Marcus Thuram was judged to have dived when both sides were in search of a late winner

HOLT: Up in the stands, we had a panoramic view, and it was possible to appreciate what a beautiful goal it was, beautifully conceived, beautifully executed. You could see Di Maria was free. You were willing Mac Allister to pass the ball and he did.

SUTTON: The weight of pass from Mac Allister was everything because Di Maria did not have to break stride. If you watch it back, Di Maria kicks the ball into the floor. It was lifted over Lloris because he did that. Unusual, but genius.

The whole move was brilliant, including the run by Mac Allister. I know Messi ended up winning man of the match and that was inevitable. But there was a stage when Mac Allister looked like the outstanding player on the pitch.

HERBERT: I was hoping if Messi was named man of the match, he would turn up for the press conference, but he didn’t show. Mac Allister might have turned up if he had been given it!

Alexis Mac Allister looked a man reborn for Argentina throughout their World Cup campaign

Alexis Mac Allister looked a man reborn for Argentina throughout their World Cup campaign

SUTTON: Messrs Holt and Herbert have written brilliantly on the controversy of this Qatar World Cup. In terms of the football, I’m lucky to have been here and to have worked with so many good people. Yes, that includes you, Ian. There’s a possibility you will get your own TV show after this. You are like a young Terry Wogan!

LADYMAN: Chris, if I go on to host I’m A Celebrity, you will be on my list to come into the jungle, but your wife will not be allowed to pack your suitcase like this time.

And that’s it. We have had 30 World Cup Confidential shows, 64 games, 172 goals, and amazingly, only one swearword and that was from you a fortnight ago Chris, which we managed to bleep. Thanks to you all for helping make this a great World Cup.



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