Unseen footage emerges of Lionel Messi’s reaction to Emi Martinez’s world-class save against Randal Kolo Muani
Lionel Messi’s reaction to Emi Martinez’s world-class save against Randal Kolo Muani in Argentina’s thrilling World Cup final win over France has surfaced online.
Argentina reached the 2022 World Cup final in Qatar and took on 2018 champions France after bouncing back from their shock opening defeat to Saudi Arabia.
Messi fired the 2021 Copa America champions into the lead from the spot-kick before Angel Di Maria doubled Argentina’s advantage before half-time.
France boss Didier Deschamps made a huge tactical switch in the first half after taking off Olivier Giroud and Ousmane Dembele for Marcus Thurman and Muani respectively.
France climbed back into the contest after a sensational quick-fire brace from Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe forced the final into extra-time.
Messi restored Argentina’s lead early in the second half of extra-time before PSG teammate Mbappe completed his stunning hat-trick from the spot-kick.
However, Muani was presented with the perfect opportunity to snatch a late win for France at the Lusail Stadium after coming up one-on-one against Martinez.
The 24-year-old Eintracht Frankfurt striker was denied by a stunning save from Martinez, with Argentina immediately launching a counterattack in the dying stages of extra-time.
Footage has since emerged on social media of Messi showing a laser-like focus and not celebrating Martinez’s huge save against Muani.
Fans hailed the 35-year-old Argentina captain’s reaction, which almost paid off for Messi as he helped launch his side’s immediate counterattack against France.
“Messi’s whole international career flashed before his eyes,” one fan said in response to the footage.
Another simply tweeted: “Ice cold.”
“Literal nerves of steel,” a third Twitter user posted.
Someone else commented: “He saw the miss and he was like, ‘Yeah, there’s no way I’m losing this.’”
A fifth fan added: “He knew he was going to save it.”
Argentina went on to secure their third World Cup star with a sensational 4-2 penalty shootout victory over France.
A crestfallen Muani admitted that his chance to steal a late France winner against Argentina will be a moment he will never forget.
How things might have been different 😱
What a save from Emiliano Martinez in the last minute of extra-time 🙌 pic.twitter.com/AQMiY0tAzI
— ITV Football (@itvfootball) December 19, 2022
“I still watch it, I know it off by heart,” he told beIN SPORTS.
“In my head, I said to myself — Randal, you have to shoot now. I tried to shoot towards the near post but the goalkeeper made a very good save. But there were other options.
“I could have lobbed him, or find Kylian Mbappe [who was free on the left]. But in the moment, I didn’t see him. It’s only when you watch back that you discover the other options.
“It’s too late. It still sticks in my throat and it’ll be there for life.”
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