Argetina goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez could have been sent off during the World Cup final penalty shootout, which would have meant an outfield player going in goal for the South American team.
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The Aston Villa shot-stopper was just one of a number of heroes for the Albiceleste as they enjoyed the victory over France on Sunday at the Duhail Stadium. It was his save for Kingsley Cohan’s penalty that helped them lift their third World Cup.
But, it could have been different had referee Szymon Marciniak decided to take a harder approach to Martinez’s dark arts after he threw the ball away ahead of Tchouameni before the Frenchman took his penalty – eventually missing.
The Polish official could have brandished a yellow card while he did in the end after the keeper came up to give an earful to the next penalty taker Kolo Muani. It left a sour taste in Chris Sutton’s mouth, who described his actions as ‘despicable’.
“I wasn’t overly enamoured with Martinez’s antics in the shootout,” he told the Daily Mail. “I thought it was a pretty despicable thing to do (throwing the ball away). I can understand the mind games and heat of the moment you do whatever it takes.
“But I thought that was totally unnecessary. If you’re Tchouameni walking past Martinez (in the guard of honour) you probably feel like biffing him one. I didn’t like that at all but I can understand Martinez in that moment trying to win a World Cup.”
And there is already a precedent for sending a goalkeeper off in a penalty shootout after it happened in an MLS Cup playoff game between Orlando City and New York City FC in 2020.
After diving off his line, Orlando keeper Pedro Gallese was shown a second yellow and sent off and no subs could be made after all three had been used.
It led to centre-back Rodrigo Schlegel having to put on the gloves on – who even went on to save one of the spot-kicks.
Orlando City went on to score the next one, handing them the victory in one of the most bizarre shootouts in living memory.