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'It's us against the rest of the world!' - Martinez claims 'everyone' wanted Argentina to lose during run to World Cup final

5:44 PM SGT 14/12/22
Emiliano Martinez World Cup 2022
Emiliano Martinez has claimed that ''everyone'' wanted Argentina to lose during their run to the 2022 World Cup final.
  • Argentina beat Croatia 3-0
  • Have reached the World Cup final
  • Martinez hails incredible crowd support in Qatar

WHAT HAPPENED? The goalkeeper has been crucial in Argentina's journey in the Qatar tournament, most notably keeping out two penalties in a quarter-final shootout win over the Netherlands. Martinez was on solid form again in their 3-0 semi-final win over Croatia, which ensured that the Albicleste will get an opportunity to fight for the title on Sunday. Argentina have recovered impressively since losing their group stage opener 2-1 to Saudi Arabia, and Martinez believes that the defeat spurred the players to fight harder and prove their doubters wrong.

WHAT THEY SAID: "I just can’t believe it, mate. We lost the first game. All of sudden it’s everything upside down. People doubting us. Obviously we lost the unbeaten run of 36 games," the Aston Villa keeper told beIN Sports after the Croatia game. ''Against Mexico, the first half was a little bit sloppy. Everyone wanted us to lose, so it’s us against the rest of the world. I am so glad that this 26 (man) group of players are all fighters and we’ve got 45 million Argentinians all behind us.''

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Martinez has also brushed aside concerns that Argentina captain Lionel Messi is carrying an injury and reassured that the skipper will be fit for the final. "No, no [he’s not injured]. We played 120 minutes against Holland, it was a hard game for him but you can see he wants to finish every game,'' he said. ''Physically he’s really good and he’s man of the match every game.''

IN TWO PHOTOS:

WHAT NEXT FOR ARGENTINA? After their comfortable win over Croatia, Argentina will now start preparing for a final clash against either France or Morocco at the Lusail Stadium on December 18.