Football World Cup: "Beast" Martínez and Messi intoxicate Argentina

Emiliano Martínez climbed onto the railing, the squad symbolically celebrated behind him, fans went wild in the stands of Lusail's luxury bombonera.

Football World Cup: "Beast" Martínez and Messi intoxicate Argentina

Emiliano Martínez climbed onto the railing, the squad symbolically celebrated behind him, fans went wild in the stands of Lusail's luxury bombonera.

It's rare that in a team with a Lionel Messi in stunning title form, another rises to become an even greater hero. On the memorable Friday evening in Qatar, the time had come. "A superhero," wrote "Clarín". "Dibu", the nickname of the career late starter, who had only celebrated his selection debut a year and a half ago, was the "hero of the night", said "La Nacion" and "Pagina12" praised Martínez's "huge hands".

He saved two penalties, which was enough to decide the point after a dramatic, a heated and another historic game between Argentina and the Netherlands with the most yellow cards ever in a World Cup game.

"Pure Emotions"

"It was pure emotion," said keeper Martínez. "We did it for 45 million Argentines, for the whole country", which is doing so badly economically. "A little bit of joy, that's beautiful." Martínez, who has been on loan from a club in England for almost ten years, knows what he is talking about. "I've been through a lot of shit," he once said, according to "Olé".

A career that seems like a negative counter-draft to that of Messi, who was the first to run to the 1.95 meter goalkeeper. Despite his own splendid performance, Messi knew who he had to thank for Argentina being in the semifinals against Croatia next Tuesday and he was only two wins away from the final crowning of his career, which already boasted a whopping 41 titles. But the most important thing is still missing.

"I don't know exactly what I said to him," Messi told Argentinian sports daily Olé. "We trusted him, we knew he was there for us in penalties. That he was a beast."

Because this Emiliano Martínez, born in Mar del Plata in humble circumstances as the son of a dock worker and a domestic worker, has done it before. He has already saved Messi significantly on the way to a title dream in the next round. It was last summer at the Copa America in the semifinals against Colombia. At that time he even saved three penalties.

Martínez became famous not only because it was only his seventh international match and he became a hero, but also because he constantly threw jokes at the shooters, like this: "Look how I eat you, brother."

Because there were no spectators in the stadium at the time because of the corona pandemic, Martínez' verbal skirmishes of uncertainty could be heard very well. Also because of the measures against the virus, he had not been able to see his newly born second daughter with his Portuguese wife at first. After the title triumph in the Rio final against Brazil, the time had finally come.

Dramaturgy of the Copa triumph fits the Qatar World Cup

There were almost 90,000 fans in Lusail, and almost all in sky blue and white. Above all, the cheers and the singing could be heard. And yet the dramaturgy of the Copa triumph fits in with the World Cup in Qatar.

This team shows will, Messi is the leader, the megastar and the mood indicator, playing better than ever in the two-time world champion's kit at this year-end World Cup towards the end of his career. "This passion, this joy - he really wants it," wrote Germany's former world champion Bastian Schweinsteiger on Twitter.

Messi prepared a goal brilliantly and scored the second himself from the penalty spot against the Netherlands. After a 2-2 draw in regular time and overtime, he also converted his attempt on penalties. "The whole of Argentina wishes him the World Cup title and I'm sure many others will too," wrote Schweinsteiger, who, among other things, defeated Argentina with the German team in the final of Rio Messi's in 2014.

But on Lusail's night in this impressive stadium, which atmospherically resembles the Buenos Aires branch of the legendary Bombonera, Messi scored his tenth World Cup goal in his 1001st professional game and drew level with Argentina's record man Gabriel Batistuta. Against Croatia, Messi will catch up with Lothar Matthäus, the record player for the World Cup, and ideally he could overtake him in the final by winning the title.

"His best version," wrote the newspaper "Clarín" after the crazy thriller in the quarterfinals. The fact that van Gaal had provoked Messi with statements that he would not participate much in the game if the Argentines did not have the ball seemed to spur him on even more. As did keeper Emiliano "Dibu" Martínez, who unequivocally countered van Gaal's premonition that the Netherlands had an advantage in the penalty shoot-out: "He'd better shut up."