With the score level at 1-1 in the second semifinals, it was down to spot kicks to decide who would face Brazil in the final. Argentina defeated Colombia in penalties & made it to the Copa América final thanks to a monumental performance from Emiliano Martinez.
Emiliano Martinez only received his first Argentina call up last month after an impressive Premier League season with Aston Villa, but has been trusted with the No. 1 spot since the opening match. He made his national debut on June 3 in a World Cup qualifier against Chile and may not have not even have started at the Copa America had River Plate keeper Franco Armani not tested positive for coronavirus.
Now he’s a national hero after saving 3 penalties in a Copa America semifinal shootout.
Martinez tried to distract Colombia’s players in the shootout with plenty of talking, and it appeared to work as he saved efforts from Davinson Sanchez, Yerry Mina and Edwin Cardona.
“I know you already… You are nervous.. I’m going to eat,” were the words that got into Yerry Mina’s before losing his shoot.
Messi also tried to distract his opponent, especially Yerry Mina. With his hysterical dance against Uruguay when he scored his penalty, Messi had his moment on him this time after Emi Martinez saved Mina’s penalty. “BAILA AHORA! (Dance now)” – Messi yelled at Mina.
Captain Lionel Messi has described goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez as a ‘phenomenon’ after his shoot-out heroics guided Argentina to the Copa America final.
“We have Emi, who is a phenomenon,” Messi said. ‘We trusted him. We achieved the goal of being able to play all the games and now we are going to the final.”
Now we are set for the first Superclásico de las Américas final since 2007 as Brazil face Argentina this Saturday night in the final in Rio de Janeiro at the Maracana.
Messi has three times been a runner-up in major competitions (2014 World Cup, 2015 Copa América, 2016 Copa América Centenario) but has never won South American football’s most illustrious prize. The 2007 final was Messi’s first when Brazil won 3-0.
Now it’s him against Neymar, with both knowing what a title would mean in the legacy conversation. Brazil will be the favorite, based on its status as host and based on the talent it has on paper. Yet for all the focus on what Messi hasn’t won for his country, it’s only prudent to point out that Neymar hasn’t technically delivered a major trophy to his, either.
Opta has come up with the competition stats for both phenomenon players so far:
𝗠𝗢𝗦𝗧 𝗚𝗢𝗔𝗟𝗦 & 𝗔𝗦𝗦𝗜𝗦𝗧𝗦
𝗠𝗢𝗦𝗧 𝗖𝗛𝗔𝗡𝗖𝗘𝗦 𝗖𝗥𝗘𝗔𝗧𝗘𝗗
𝗠𝗢𝗦𝗧 𝗙𝗢𝗨𝗟𝗦 𝗪𝗢𝗡