How Neil Maupay helped Argentina win the World Cup by igniting the career of Emiliano Martinez

Emiliano Martinez’s rise to the top of world football with Argentina was extraordinary – but would it have happened without Neil Maupay?

Brighton can claim to have helped Argentina win the World Cup thanks to the performance of midfield maestro Alexis McAllister. But their influence could run deeper – and that includes their former striker, Neil Maupay.

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Think back to June 2020. Football was still being played behind closed doors as Brighton hosted Arsenal in the Premier League. Maupay’s stoppage-time winner led the Seagulls to a 2-1 win, but it wasn’t the only decisive act of the game.

Arsenal’s first choice goalkeeper during that period was Bernd Leno, with Argentine hero Martinez remaining on the bench at Arsenal with his run in the wrong direction.

However, a striker in a high volley saw Leno and Maupay combine together and changed the course of Martínez’s life as a footballer. The Brighton forward’s challenge to Leno caused the German to leave the pitch on a stretcher and prompted Martínez into first-team action – this was his first Premier League appearance for three years after spending time on loan at Oxford United, Sheffield Wednesday and Rotherham. , Wolves, Getafe and reading.

Leno was later ruled out with a serious knee injury.

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Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno goes down awkwardly after a challenge from Brighton & Hove Albion’s Neil Maupay.

Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno goes down awkwardly after a challenge from Brighton & Hove Albion's Neil Maupay leads to an injured Brighton sidelined from football.  MUST READ Image credit: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire/NMC Pool.  Restrictions: Editorial use only No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or

And Martinez hasn’t looked back from there.

With Leno on the sidelines, Martínez made the Arsenal goalkeeper shirt his own for the remainder of the season, making 23 appearances in all competitions, including playing a leading role as Arsenal won the FA Cup against Chelsea.

Despite his heroic performances with Arsenal at the end of that season, Leno regained his fitness and faith in coach Mikel Arteta, so Martinez moved to Aston Villa for £20m.

Upon signing for Villa, he had yet to make his debut for Argentina.

However, fast-forward two years and after becoming one of the most reliable goalkeepers in the Premier League, he broke into the Argentina side and now has a World Cup winners’ medal to his name.

Martínez’s action in the penalty shootout: it’s art

Martinez
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Martinez saved Kinglsey Coman’s penalty kick in the World Cup Final

Martinez’s impact as Argentina topped in one of the greatest World Cup finals in history at Lusail Stadium was enormous, especially in the penalty shootout.

Kingsley Coman’s effort was saved by Martínez before Aurelien Choameni fired a shot wide, leaving Gonzalo Montiel to convert the winning penalty.

As someone who is known for his ability to save penalties and a few feints when matches go to decide kicks, he has had his place on the world stage.

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Gonzalo Montiel’s decisive penalty in the shootout gives Argentina victory in the World Cup final against France

Besides celebrating enthusiastically in front of Koeman, he was seen throwing the ball away before Tchoamene stepped forward and tried to approach the Real Madrid midfielder, for which he received a yellow card from the referee.

It was the latest in a series of big match shootout tournaments from Martinez in an Argentina shirt.

Martinez helped his team win the South American Cup after saving three penalties in the semi-final match against Colombia and saving twice in the World Cup quarter-finals against the Netherlands with penalties. He did not lose in three penalties for his country.

Emiliano Martinez saves Virgil van Dijk's penalty
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Emiliano Martinez saves Virgil van Dijk’s penalty

“I have no words,” Martinez said after Sunday’s final.

Everything you dreamed of has come true.”

He talks to penalty expert Geir Jordet Sky Sports For a feature earlier this season, he explained the science behind Martinez’s penalty exploits: “Martinez’s technique is a kind of combination of physical distraction with indirect, subtle manipulation and manipulation.

“There is definitely an art. Martinez is next level again, now, finding very confrontational and unnerving ways to try and deal with penalty takers.”

From League Two to World Cup Winner

Martinez

Ben Grounds on Sky Sports:

While Moroccan Yassine Bounou and Croatian Dominik Levakovic deserved a place between the posts, Aston Villa goalkeeper Martinez was poised to overtake him as Championship goalkeeper and Golden Glove winner.

“Just over a decade ago he was playing in Sky Bet League Two at Oxford United, but here in Qatar he saved two penalties in the shootout win over the Netherlands to keep Argentina and Messi’s World Cup hopes alive, and he became an increasingly dominant presence within the squad as they marched towards glory.” .

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Sky Sports correspondent Kaveh Solhkul discusses the FIFA World Cup Final

His save from Randall Kolo Mwane seconds before extra time saved Argentina from a painful defeat in the final and his dominance in the decisive penalty shootout that followed helped his country finally cross the line.

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