Argentina won the World Cup for a multitude of reasons, but a big imposing one was Emiliano ‘Dibu’ Martinez. The Aston Villa goalkeeper came up with the goods for Argentina making a save in the last breath of the game from Randal Kolo Muani. When the match went to penalties, he stopped one and saw Aurelien Tchouameni’s go wide.
He also had something to do with scoring them himself. Argentina scored all four of their penalties, with Lionel Messi, Paulo Dybala, Leandro Paredes and Gonzalo Montiel all converting their efforts.
Dybala put his down the middle, and explained to Ole why he did so.
“When the coach called me to to go on, I knew it was for penalties. And so I had to try to be as cool-headed as possible. It is not easy because you don’t play a World Cup final every day. It took me a long time to walk to the ball. It couldn’t have been longer. I had spoken with Dibu. He had advised me to shoot down the middle after they had missed. They always dive. I was going to go for the side, the goalkeeper dove to that side, but I heard what my colleague said.”
4⃣ Pénalty tiré par Dybala 🇦🇷
Un pénalty qui met en évidence les carences de Lloris dans ce domaine.
Lloris prend la décision de plonger à droite, mais on sent qu'il n'est pas serein, il donne l'information tôt et semble hésitant. pic.twitter.com/xkJTROarPg
— Thork (@ThorkSorare) December 19, 2022
“I changed at the last minute. I listened to Dibu because they had made a mistake before me and he told me to go down the middle, shoot there and it was a goal,” explained the Roma forward.
Saving two penalties in their quarter-final shootout against the Netherlands, Martinez could have a good argument to be Argentina’s biggest difference-maker after Lionel Messi.
Although he has received plenty of stick for doing so, Martinez may well have put Tchouameni off for his penalty too. Throwing the ball away and giving the Real Madrid player even longer to think about spot kick might have had an impact. Tchouameni would go on to apologise to the French fans for missing.